Four months since the marking of Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) exams, the examiners are yet to be paid with the government indicating that they will be paid once the funds are available.
Speaking in parliament, when he appeared before the public investments committee on education and governance, KNEC Chief Executive Officer David Njeng’ere admitted that teachers who were contracted by the council received a deposit adding that they will be paid balance once the exchequer releases the funds.
“We administer exams, then pay in advance, and the balance is paid later. We do not enjoy owing teachers, we have already given them what we were given by the exchequer,” Njeng’ere said.
Njeng’ere revealed that the council is experiencing a cash crunch that has forced it to maintain the pending bill for more than four months after the end of the exercise. He however did not provide the exact dates when they will make the payments.
The committee chairman Wanami Wamboka urged the government to enhance funding to the council to ensure they remain afloat and discharge its duties effectively.
During clearance from the marking centres after the completion of the marking exercise, KNEC paid KCSE examiners a standard rate of sh20,000 as advance.
The three main examinations that were administered by the examiners KPSEA, KCPE and KCSE results have all been released.
KCSE supervisors earn Sh2,485 while invigilators take home Sh1,615. Security officers are paid Sh1,050 while drivers earn Sh1,040.28, 408 KCSE centre managers are paid Sh2, 000 per day for 18 days, translating to sh36,000.
Supervisors earn Sh2,485 for the same number of days, translating to Sh44,750 each. 74,990 invigilators earn Sh1, 615 per day for 17 days, translating to Sh24,450 each. Secondary school principals take home a flat rate of Sh500 for 18 days, translating to Sh9, 000. KNEC currently pays between Sh48 and Sh77 per script.
Those marking English papers are paid at a rate of between Sh57 and Sh77 per script, while those marking Kiswahili papers are paid between Sh57 and Sh69. The same rate applies for those marking mathematics papers. Teachers charge between Sh50 and Sh52 to mark Chemistry papers, same as Biology and Physics.
KNEC has to part with between Sh52 and Sh55 to have History papers marked, Geography papers are rated at between Sh52 and Sh54 per script. Business Studies and Agriculture are rated at Sh52. KUPPET, however, says Agriculture paper 3, which is marked at school level, is never paid for. About 30,000 teachers marked KCSE papers while 7,000 marked KCPE.
The delayed payment is contrary to the demands of the parliamentary education and research committee last year that had summoned former CS Prof. George Magoha to appear and answer questions about KNEC contracts and payments.
This comes as the teachers unions put pressure on the council to honour their obligation to pay the teachers saying they are breaching the contract they signed with the tutors.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) national chairman Omboko Milemba gave the council two weeks ultimatum to ensure the 50,000 tutors were paid their dues.
‘‘We have given the examination council two weeks to settle the bills or face the teachers’ wrath. If the bills are not settled by the end of March, KUPPET will mobilise the examiners to occupy the KNEC office,’’ Milemba said.
The union leader scoffed at the government for subjecting teachers to work under unfavourable conditions and at the same time retain their money after completing their contract.
‘‘Fair labour practises demand that workers who render their services should be paid commensurate with the work done and on time. The teachers performed their part of the agreement successfully, yet all they get in return is neglect,’’ he stated.
In December last year, markers of CRE paper II downed their tools in protest of poor working conditions and low pay.
‘‘The work itself is characterized by poor conditions including long hours, poor accommodation in students’ dormitories, poor diets and above all, low pay,’’ Milemba stated.
Teachers have demanded that the examinations agency raise marking fees for each script to Sh100, according to new proposals by their union.
The teachers also want the venue for marking all KCSE examination papers and KCPE English composition as well as Kiswahili Insha be moved to university campuses or other high level government institutions.