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End of an era: Candidates to sit last KCPE under 8-4-4.

After 38 years, the curtains will finally fall on the Kenya Certificate for Primary Education Examinations (KCPE) exams as the last cohort sits the tests.Some 1,415, 315 candidates will sit the last KCPE beginning Monday as the nearly four decades old 8-4-4 system is phased out.


The ministry is replacing the 8-4-4 curriculum with the Competency Based Curriculum which has the a 2-6-6-3 system.The government has rooted for the system as the surest way to equip learners with relevant skils.


The 8-4-4 system, which was exam-based and competitive, put a lot of pressure to learners to deliver good results.


In a one on one with Maria Goretti Nyariki who sat the first ever exam in 1985,said the exam did not have as much pressure as it came to have in the recent years.


In her opinion, the pressure to perform highly has led to dilution of results.


“Generally examinations have been diluted. Because you see in those days when you got an A, a B or whatever, you have really worked hard. But these days because of a lot of corruption and stealing of exams the authenticity is not there. The pressure to deliver good results diluted the authenticity of the exams,”Nyariki said.


In her opinion, the pressure to perform also led to the commercialisation of exams as there was so much interest from the school and the parents on performance.


“So the learner is pushed and pressured to meet the interests of other people,” she said.


Nyariki said though CBC has its own challenges and a lot are questioning whether it will really suffice, she said a lot of resources are needed to implement it for it to be successful.
She believes learners will be exposed so much under CBC and will know early in life what path they want to take in life.


“There is too much pressure on this generation. Even the number of books. Honestly we did not have as many books as we have been seeing. We never even had holiday homework. There is too much pressure on the learner,” she said.


As KCPE is phased out , learners will sit their first national exam at Grade 6 moving forward.The exam replacing KCPE is the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment but it will not be used to determine whether the learner proceeds to the next level which is Junior Secondary School for Grade 7.


KEPSEA will only be a monitoring tool for the learner’s achievements and the first cohort to sit the KEPSEA exam did so last year, concurrently with KCPE.


This year, the scenario is still the same as 1,282,574 Grade 6 candidates are also sitting their KEPSEA exam. Exams for both KCPE and KPSEA begin on Monday, October 30, and end on Wednesday, November 1.


Moving forward, learners will no longer do Maths, English, Kiswahili, Science, Social and Religious studies for their first national exam.


Under KEPSEA, learners are tested in 12 subjects which are Mathematics, English, Kiswahili, Integrated Science (I.S) which entails Home Science, Agriculture, Science and Tech, and Physical Health.They are also tested in Creative And Social Sciences (C.A.S.S) which includes Arts and Craft, Music, Social Studies, and Religious Education.


Though they seem many, the 12 subjects have been consolidated to be tested as five areas and the KEPSEA exam will only account for 40 per cent of the learners total grade while the remaining 60 per cent comes from classroom-based continuous assessment tests conducted in Grades 4, 5 and 6.

Article By Suzy Nyongesa.


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