The national examinations scheduled for next month and April will involve about 280,000 contracted professionals -- 15, 500 more jobs than were available in 2019.
Some 264,446 professionals were deployed to administer, manage and mark the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations in 2019.
Teachers who wish to be considered for jobs as centre managers, supervisors, invigilators, examiners (markers) as well as security personnel have until Friday to file their applications online on the Kenya National Examinations Council website.
Centre managers are usually, by default, the head teachers for primary schools and principals for secondary schools.
The rise in the number of exam personnel is attributable to an increase in the number of candidates at both primary and secondary school level. Some 1,187,517 candidates have been registered to sit the KCPE examination this year while 751,150 registered for the KCSE test. Both are an increase from the 1,088,986 and 699,745 who sat the examinations last year respectively. There may also be more classrooms used as examination rooms necessitated by requirements for extra spacing to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines.
The successful applicants will be deployed by the sub-county directors of education and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) sub-county directors; while the security personnel will be under their respective superiors. Before the examinations begin, their details will be available on the schools portal on the Knec website, which is accessible by head teachers. In January, the TSC directed sub-county directors to identify, nominate and vet examination officials who will be engaged in the exercise.
In 2019, the government spent about Sh1 billion to pay the 264,446 field officers who were involved in the exercise. They included centre managers, supervisors, invigilators, security agents and drivers. A further Sh2 billion was paid to the 26,597 teachers who marked the examinations. A further Sh1 billion was used on logistics like hiring helicopters and fuelling vehicles used to transport examination materials. State officers from various departments who monitor the exams were also paid from the same budget. The KCPE examination will start on March 22 and end on March 24. KCSE candidates will do their rehearsals on March 25, and begin the exams the following day up to April 21. The tests were earlier scheduled for November last year but were postponed after the school calendar was disrupted by Covid-19.
The examinations come at time when the Kenya National Union of Teachers has threatened to call a teachers' strike to protest a delay in agreeing on a new collective bargaining agreement with the TSC, with the new one set to elapse at the end of June.
Since the government moved in to crack down on rampant cheating, the responsibility of the management of examination was moved from supervisors and placed on the school heads. They collect the examination materials every morning from containers positioned at a central point.
When candidates finish writing the tests, the supervisor hands the scripts to the centre manager who then takes them back to the central container. Security officers provide security for the materials in transit and are at times stationed at some schools.