KCSE examiners down tools over poor pay, harsh working conditions

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023 15:57 | By
St Francis Girls High School- Mang'u in Gatundu North. PHOTO/Mathew Ndung'u

Candidates who sat for the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams may have to wait longer for their results after examiners assessing the Christian Religious Education (CRE) downed their tools over poor payment and harsh working conditions.

The over 1,000 assessors going about the marking activity at St Francis Girls Mang’u High School in Gatundu North began their strike on Monday night.

The markers cited that their chief examiner had subjected them to harsh marking conditions including to introduction of punitive policies and long bureaucracies which have significantly slowed the marking process.

Also at the centre of their protest is meagre payment per script marked as compared to assessors evaluating other subjects such as Kiswahili.

According to them, CRE examiners are only taking home Sh 55 per paper marked as compared to assessors in other subjects who are receiving Sh 78 per script marked.

“With the current harsh economic situation, we expect the government to review our payment terms. From 2010, the payment of work done per paper has remained at Ksh55 which we now want to be increased to Ksh70,” an examiner stated.

Speaking on conditions of anonymity over fears of being victimized, the markers also took issue with their bosses in the marking exercise for overworking them saying that they have been waking up at 5 am and retiring to bed past 10 am.

As a result of the working hours, the examiners regretted that fatigue has disabled them from making a fair judgment and could end up failing

Further, the examiners decried confiscation of their phones and laptops from the marking area, a situation they decried has cut their entire communication.

The stalemate is reported to have started on Monday.

Early today morning, January 10, Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) CEO David Njegere made his way into the centre but failed to resolve the matter.

According to them, the CEO only sacked the chief examiner who they accused of dictatorship and failing to provide leadership, relaxed some of the punitive policies introduced but declined to guarantee them increased pay.

Adamant that they will not resume operations unless all their issues are addressed, the teachers vowed to continue downing their tools in what could delay the release of KCSE results.

“CRE is like an essay and has been taking us a lot of time to mark and our demands for increment in payment per script must be increased from Ksh55 to at least Ksh70 failure to which we will not resume the marking exercise,” a female assessor told journalists on phone.

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