Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion has called for the suspension of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations following disruptions to the education sector in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
While addressing the press at the Kenya Human Rights Commission offices in Lavington on Wednesday, Sossion said the exams should be postponed to next year.
He urged the government to prioritize flattening the Covid-19 infection curve before shifting attention to the national exams.
Sossion stated that the lives of teachers and learners should be considered in the decision-making process, adding that “resumption of schools must be a negotiable effort, not a dictatorship.”
“We would rather have all our children staying at home, safe and alive and repeating a year rather than sending them to school to die. The world will not come to an end if we suspend certain matters,” said Sossion.
“The national exams, KCPE and KCSE, are not a ticket to heaven. They can be postponed to a suitable time when the syllabus shall have been covered and when the curve shall have been flattened.”
He also argued that a majority of the country’s teachers are above 50 years of age hence have a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 if exposed.
“Nobody in this country should gamble with the lives of learners and teachers. For now, open bars and test social distancing. KCPE and KCSE are not a ticket to heaven,” said Sossion.
The union boss further said the syllabus should be resumed once schools open because online learning is not sufficient since many learners cannot access e-learning services and the few that do are unable to effectively interact with their teachers.
“We’ve heard of people talking about Form 4 and Class 8 reopening. These are human beings; the world will not come to an end. Children can repeat a class, better save lives first. Even if the exams are pushed to November 2021, if we can evade death, let’s do so.”
On teachers’ salaries, Sossion stated: “Salaries of teachers must be protected. No one, whether government or private entities, should use Covid-19 to hold the salaries of teachers.”