KCSE marking stopped at St Francis school after examiners protest poor working conditions

In what has fully paralyzed the KCSE marking exercise at St. Francis Girls, Mang’u, over 1,000 teachers who have been grading the Christian Religious Education (CRE) paper one have been given 30 minutes to leave the centre.

This comes after the tutors staged a protest over the marking conditions.

A section of teachers who spoke to journalists on condition of anonymity expressed their dissatisfaction with how the exercise was being conducted.

Among others, the aggrieved examiners cited intimidation, dictatorial leadership by the centre manager and introduction of punitive examinations marking policies.

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

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

The markers also took issue with their bosses in the marking exercise for overworking them saying that they have been waking up at 5am 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 judgement and could end up underperforming.

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 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 release of KCSE results.

By the time of publishing this story, teachers were leaving the centre one by one while all unauthorized persons were chased away from the centre.

Police officers have been deployed at the centre to fast-track the closure process.

Journalists found covering the standoff outside the centre have also been ordered to leave the area by police officers.

At the centre, Education CS Ezekiel Machogu and Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia were, by the time of publishing this story, held up in a crisis meeting to determine the cause of action.

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