, NAIROBI, Kenya, December 29 – The Kenya National Examination (KNEC) now says that the Free Primary Education (FPE) programme has not affected the quality of education in schools.
This comes after the release of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results for the first batch of students to benefit from the programme.
KNEC Chief Executive Officer Paul Wasanga said on Wednesday that this year’s students performed better than last year.
“These examinations were the first for the group of students that got in under the Free Primary Education Programme. Despite speculations that the quality of performance would be affected because Free Primary Education, I am happy to say that the children did their best because performance did actually improve,” he said.
He was speaking to Capital News where he underscored the gains made in the education sector.
“To me, it is a very positive thing if we are able to put in a lot of children into school which requires facilities, infrastructure and so forth, and then produce good results,” he said.
“At the same time, the government abolished fees so given that kind of investment infrastructure, and materials would be affected, but it seems that the efforts and the input that the government has put in has actually had a very positive impact,” he added.
He further underscored the role of parents in ensuring that their children get quality education.
This follows a revelation that there were some KCPE students who benefited from the Free Primary Education Programme did not register for the examinations.
Mr Wasanga said that parents enrolling their children to school will ensure that they have a good future.
“When you look at the numbers that went in at standard one in 2003, you are talking about 1.3 million children. You would have expected that number to take the examinations. What happened to the others?” he posed.
“It means there are some parents somewhere who are not taking their children to school even with these major gains so the problem is not necessarily dropouts,” he stated.
He further stressed the importance of not abolishing the KCPE examinations.
“There has been quite a lot of talk in the public domain about abolishing KCPE. The reason that is being given is that children are actually being cut because they are not performing which is the opposite,” he pointed out. “Children are performing and their parents should take them to school because there are benefits as you can see.”
According to KNEC, the cases of cheating in this year’s KCPE examinations have reduced by more than 50 percent as compared to the previous year.
Mr Wasanga attributed this to measures put in place by the council to curb examination cheating.
He said that discipline on the part of candidates also contributed to this reduction.
“99.9 percent of the candidates did not cheat but about 1,000 of them cheated. Some of them were caught with mobile phones, others smuggled reading material to go and use,” he stated. “Even if you are given a book during the examinations, what can you do in one hour? Can you read and do the examination? No you cannot do both.”
He also lauded the KCPE candidates for a job well done.
“I am actually very happy and for the candidates we are very proud as an examination body. 99.9 percent of them conducted themselves very well and that shows that if you are disciplined, performance improves,” he stated.