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KCSE candidate hospitalized after sustaining chemical burn from xylene experiment during practical paper

A candidate in the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations is recuperating at the Kombewa Sub-County Hospital in Seme after he was allegedly burnt by a chemical while doing practical paper.

Hospital Medical Superintendent David Okeyo Wednesday said the patient who is a student at St Peters Mixed Secondary School will continue writing the remaining exams while in hospital. The student was reportedly burnt while handling Xylene, a solvent candidates were expected to heat and observe the reaction, exploded.

Hospital authorities said they have been directed not to grant access to the student given that he is also still writing exams.

Kisumu County Director of Education Isaac Atebe promised to issue a comprehensive statement regarding the incident. Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on Monday defended Kenya National Examination Council’s (KNEC) decision to deploy Xylene – a colorless, sweet-smelling liquid solvent – in the ongoing Kenya Certificate for Secondary Education (KCSE) exams.

Magoha who was responding to safety concerns raised by Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET), said chemistry instructors had been trained on the safe handling of the chemical, as earlier reported on The Sauce.

“Most of the chemicals used in chemistry are harmful, Xylene, in this case, is not as dangerous as Chlorine and Bromine and have been used since when I was in high school,” the CS pointed out.

“Those people trying to make noise and misinforming the public may have expected a different substance.”

He urged examination centers to take standard precautionary measures.

The chemical was used by the students who sat for Chemistry Paper III – practical exam – and reportedly caused some teachers health complications, KUPEET had stated.

KUPPET Secretary General Akello Misori vowed to sue for damages on behalf of two teachers he said had developed breathing complications after handling the harmful chemical.

“Many students and teachers have complained of the side effects after exposure to the chemical,” he said.

This article was first published on Capital News.

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