No longer at ease: Standoff at Upper Hill school as KNEC orders KCSE Physics paper 3 examiners to vacate immediately

Confusion continues to mar the 2019 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education, KCSE, exams’ marking exercise as examiners protest low pay. On Friday morning, Physics paper three examiners were odered to leave the Upper Hill Secondary school KNEC marking centre after they failed to continue with the marking exercise. At the time of going to press, KNEC acting CEO Dr Karogo and Chairman Dr John Onsati had arrived at the centre to try and avert the crisis.

The Physics examiners had initially downed their tools on Wednesday afternoon citing low pay from the council. This came few days after the Kenya National Examinations council revised the rates for all KCSE papers upwards.


The examiners want a basic pay of Sh10,000 and a Coordination fee of Sh500 per day; up from the current Sh150. They also want the Council to pay them Sh80 per script. KNEC had increased the rate from Sh46 to Sh50, on Wednesday, but the examiners could hear none of it.

The teachers say ‘Physics papers three is one of the longest Papers to mark. One paper takes close to two and half hours to complete as each learner requires own marking scheme. Consequently, the examiner must make calculations alongside the learner’s work; Each learner records own values during the practical exam.

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Other grievances raised by the angry examiners are:

  • That KNEC retires the Physics Paper Three Chief Examiner, one Moses Muchanchwa, who is said to be mistreating the examiners; The Chief Examiner has since retired from Moi Girls High School, Nairobi, where he has been teaching.
  • They also want Marking hours to be from 7am to 6pm. Currently, the examiners mark between 7am to as late as 10pm,
  • Another demand is that the teachers be given access to their mobile phones while at the marking rooms,
  • The examiners also want to be given days off on Saturday and Sunday so as to worship,
  • In one of the newest demands, the teachers are holding that all those who administered the Practical examinations to be remunerated just like other KNEC contracted professionals,
  • The examiners are also agitating for time off to breast feeding mothers so that they can attend to their young ones in the afternoons.
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The examiners had given the council a two-day notice to address the grievances; which expired today.


The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers, KUPPET, had on Tuesday given an ultimatum of one week for KNEC to pay all examiners a flat rate of Sh100 per script; for all subjects or face industrial action. “We demand that the pay be increased to Sh100 per script,” Said KUPPET Secretary General, Akello Misori, while adding that the teachers were receiving low perks despite carrying out an important National exercise.

Misori gave the Education Ministry seven days to improve the conditions or the teachers would withdraw their services. “Machakos and Starehe Girls have grossly insufficient facilities for hosting the high number of examiners,” noted the KUPPET SG. He said such poor living conditions exposed teachers to communicable diseases and other health hazards.

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The SG warned KNEC not to victimize any examiner involved in agitating for better pay.

The Marking exercise for this year’s KCSE exams kicked off last week across about 18 centres in and around schools in Nairobi. The exercise is expected to be complete in coming few days so as the candidates can receive their results before Christmas; as Promised by Education CS Prof George Magoha. But, the latest standoff threatens to delay the timely release of the results.

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