As national exams kick off nationally, examination center managers in Narok County are on high alert in case any girls seating the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) develop labour pains in their centers.
This is after Narok County Commissioner Isaac Masinde announced that 248 candidates in primary school will be seating the exams while pregnant.
Another 409 candidates will be seating their examinations in secondary schools while pregnant, bringing the total to over 657.
Several ambulances have been put on standby to pick up the teenage girls and rush to labour wards in Narok Referral Hospital or other health facilities in the eight Narok sub-counties.
Speaking after opening the examination container for Narok North Sub-county, Masinde said the pregnant girls are among 36, 782 pupils in Grade Six and 33, 974 in Standard Eight who are seating exams in 939 and 772 centers KPSEA and KCPE respectively in the eight sub-counties.
Narok South is leading in teenage pregnancy with 149 girls, followed by Narok Central at 140 while Narok West sub-county has 124 pregnant learners.
Other sub-counties where such incidents have been reported include Trans Mara West, 81, Narok North, 60, Narok East, 66, Trans Mara South, 67, and Trans Mara East sub-county with 54 pregnancy cases.
The Narok North container is among the 12 containers in all the eight sub-counties that were opened by as early as 6 am across the county.
By the time of publishing this story, no hitches had been reported
Some 12, 444 students in secondary school are expected to sit their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) national examination in the county later.
Masinde also told journalists that the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Interior have put measures in place to handle any cases of emergency among pregnant girls.
“We have instructed the center managers to be on the lookout for any girls developing labor pains, and make a call since we have put ambulances on standby to pick them up and be rushed to the nearest health centers.
“We are ready and we have enough security, transport and all exams are guarded, and we warn our security and center managers to take caution of any exam cheating,” Masinde said.
He, however, fired a warning salvo to this year's candidates saying they will face consequences if they try cheating.
He said candidates, invigilators, supervisors, or center managers will bear personal responsibility in case of any exam fraud.
“The candidates should know that their results will be canceled if found culpable of any multi-practices, and the center managers and the security personnel would face consequences including arrests and sacking if they participate in exam cheating,” he added.
Pregnant girls in Kajiado
In Kajiado County, Commissioner Harun Kamau said there are 124 pregnant girls among 26,865 candidates registered to sit for exams.
Pregnant KCSE candidates make up the majority at 86 and KCPE 28 girls. Another 10 girls will be writing their Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) while pregnant.
"We are delighted that despite the challenge the girls are likely to face doing exams while pregnant parents have confirmed to support and cooperate with respective schools to facilitate them to write their exams.
"We are also prepared in case any of the girls will experience labour during the exams. We will rush them to a nearby hospital and facilitate them to do their exams as scheduled, " Kamau said.
Kamau further said education stakeholders have been counseling the pregnant girls to prepare them physiologically to face their peers and focus on their examinations.
"The girls have undergone a lot of counseling to boost their self-esteem. We are encouraging the girls to be brave enough and know that being pregnant should not be a stumbling block to a bright future.
"They should instead focus on their exams and continue with their education thereafter," he added.