KCSE marking: KNEC replaces chief examiner after teachers strike

Just hours after disgruntled teachers marking CRE paper 1 downed their tools amid claims of low pay and poor working conditions, the national examiner has moved to dismiss the chief examiner stationed at St Francis Mang’u Girls High School. 

Earlier, examiners marking Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams at the facility paralysed the exercise while citing poor remuneration and a punitive chief examiner. 

The exam marking centre had been closed indefinitely after they went on strike on Monday night.

“We just want them to pay us well while keeping in mind the hard economy times in the country. The working conditions are also very poor. We wake up at 4am and sleep at 10pm,” one of the striking examiners told the Nation.

According to the teachers, about 500,000 unmarked scripts are remaining yet they were expected to finish these by Friday or Saturday.

Now, the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) says it has agreed to replace the chief examiner as a compromise to ensure a smooth marking exercise.

However, the body says it cannot review payment terms at this point since they were agreed upon before the marking exercise began.

“Unfortunately, despite responding to their initial demand, a few of the examiners yet again
came up with a fresh call that the marking fee be revised upwards. Since the issue of the
examiner’s marking fee is an individual contract, and agreed to before reporting to a centre,
the Council found it impossible to find an extra budget to revise the rates midway,” KNEC said.

It added: “The Council, therefore, resolved to allow the examiners who were willing to continue with the marking process to do so uninterrupted. Equally, those who wished to exit the marking
exercise were allowed to do so without causing further interruptions to the process.”

Senior officials from the Ministry of Education led by CS Ezekiel Machogu, PS Belio Kipsang and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) boss Nancy Macharia were at the centre on Tuesday to calm the situation.

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