19 February 2013

Kenya: Mutula Revokes Higher KCSE Exam Fees

Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo has directed the Kenya National Examinations Council to revoke a planned increase of registration fees for this year's form four candidates.

In a circular to head teachers, KNEC chief executive Paul Wasanga cited rising costs of examination materials and hiring of personnel as the reasons for raising the fees.

Fielding queries from journalists on Tuesday, Kilonzo termed the move by the examinations agency as misplaced saying it would be to the disadvantage of less fortunate students.

"I completely opposed to this frustration of parents, that every year, or even in the middle of the year somebody decides they are going to tax the parents," the Education Minister said.

"I am waiting for a report (from the KNEC) and if it's true I will completely cancel them."

He said the Basic Education Act which was enacted into law last year guarantees all children in Kenya the right to free and basic education.

"In that Act we are saying that anybody imposing any levy on children, they must obtain the consent of the Cabinet Secretary (in charge of Education), and I meant it when I drafted these laws in the manner that I drafted for the protection of the right of the child not the parent and not the teacher."

In the new charge schedule, Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam candidates taking on subjects with practical components assessed by external examiners will pay Sh500 more which would go to settle examiners' allowances.

Candidates taking subjects with a project module will pay an extra Sh200 as charges for setting, moderation and printing of advance instructions.

However, students paying for aviation technology exams will pay an additional Sh2,500 for the purchase of material for the practical paper and payment to external examiners.

Students registering to sit the national examination would first be required to pay Sh2,200 as basic examination fees and Sh400 per subject. This means that if one is studying seven subjects, they will pay Sh5,000 to KNEC before forking out extra charges depending on whether the subjects have practical or project modules.

KNEC last year scaled upwards allowances paid to examination officials manning the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams.

The revised rates for supervisors, invigilators, security officers and drivers have been increased by between 17 percent and 25 percent. The allowances will only be paid to contracted officials for the days they will be engaged in the examination exercise.

According to a press dispatch from KNEC headquarters, supervisors who have been earning Sh450 per day will now pocket Sh500. Invigilators will each pocket Sh400 per day up from Sh320, while the security officers will now be paid Sh350 per day up from Sh300 per day.

Drivers, also classified as professionals, will be given the same package as security officers, while supervisors and invigilators both in Nairobi and Mombasa will be remunerated at special rates a according to the revised guidelines.

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