Form One Selection to Proceed Despite Legal Challenges
The Ministry of Education has announced that the Form One selection process for the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) candidates will go on as planned, despite two pending court cases challenging the validity of the exam results. The ministry said that it had completed the selection of students to join national, extra-county, county and sub-county schools, and that the admission letters would be available for download from the ministry’s website by next week.
The High Court declined to issue an order to stop the selection exercise, pending the hearing and determination of two petitions filed by parents and civil society groups, who claimed that the KCPE exam was marred by irregularities and discrimination. The petitioners argued that the exam was not administered in a fair and transparent manner, and that some candidates were disadvantaged by the use of the Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) exam, which was introduced this year as part of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) system.
The KPSEA exam was taken by 1.2 million candidates who had enrolled in the CBC system, while the KCPE exam was taken by 1.4 million candidates who had completed the 8-4-4 system. The petitioners alleged that the KPSEA exam was easier and less rigorous than the KCPE exam, and that the candidates who took the KPSEA exam had an unfair advantage in the selection process. They also claimed that the ministry did not provide adequate information and guidance on how the two exams would be harmonized and graded.
The ministry, however, defended the integrity and credibility of the exam results, saying that they were processed and released in accordance with the law and the established procedures. The ministry also said that the KPSEA exam was designed to assess the competencies and skills of the learners, and that it was not comparable to the KCPE exam, which was based on content and knowledge. The ministry added that the selection process was done using a criteria that ensured equity, merit and choice of the candidates.
The High Court directed the parties to file and serve their submissions by January 10, 2023, and set the hearing date for January 17, 2023. The court also ordered the ministry to file a report on the status of the Form One selection and admission by January 14, 2023. The court said that it would make a final decision on the matter after considering the evidence and arguments of both sides.
The Form One selection and admission is expected to be completed by January 31, 2023, ahead of the reopening of schools for the first term on February 6, 2023. This will mark the end of the 8-4-4 system and the transition to the CBC system, which is expected to produce learners who are competent, innovative and creative.