Two parents moved to court on Monday, November 27, 2023, seeking investigations at Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) over irregularities in the results of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) 2023.
Documents filed in court by parents from Kitengela International School and Set Greenhill Academy Mixed Day and Boarding and Junior School namely Pius Kiio and Everlyn Kemuma Omwoyo respectively claim the KCPE exams results released last week were not fair and credible.
The petitioners want the court to issue temporary orders blocking declaration of Form One placement results by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu. The selection exercise began today.
"That ex-parte and pending the hearing and determination of the petition the honorable court be pleased to issue a conservatory order temporarily suspending the 3rd Respondent's(Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu )declaration of the form one placement exercise slated to begin on November 27, 2023," the petitioners seek in court papers.
Kiio and Kemuma through lawyer Danstan Omari say they are aggrieved by the garling irregularities in the 2023 KCPE exams results, arguing that it is not possible for students in the same school to score the same marks.
KNEC offices, the petitioners believe, are a crime scene and their activities preceding the release of the 2023 KCPE results should be investigated.
They further want the court to compel KNEC and CS Machogu to have the KCPE results reviewed afresh, arguing that the examination services provided by KNEC as a state institution need to be of high quality.
"I am dissatisfied with the way my child's papers were marked in the just released KCPE examinations and through the school, other parents and I have written to the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya National Examinations Council and the Isinya Sub-County Director of Education requesting for review under section 27 of the Kenya National Examinations Council Marking of examinations, release of results and certification rules," Kiio says.
Lawyer Omari says that CS Machogu and KNEC failed to respect, uphold and defend the constitution by flagrantly putting the future of the Kenyan kids in confusion and jeopardy.
"By releasing KCPE results that have massive errors yet the same are to be used to place students in secondary schools, KNEC fails to uphold the children's right to education by making a mockery of the same education," Omari states in the petition.
He adds that it is discriminatory to release results which do not reflect the ability of respective students of Set Greenhill Academy Mixed Day and Boarding and Junior School.
"This has led to a lowered self-esteem among the students, a fact which has thrown the concerned students into mental anguish trying to find answers. Their potential has been hidden by the release of the KCPE results which they believe have deemed their legitimate expectations. Their right to go to schools of their choice appears from a distance because they believe they are victims of a non-vigilant state agency that deals with marking of national examinations," Lawyer Omari argues.
He further contends that KNEC contravened the rule of law in Article 10 by allegedly not carrying out its mandate stipulated under the Kenya National Examinations Council Act.
"The actions of the council do not by any means promote the values that underlie an open and democratic society based on human dignity with a special protection of vulnerable groups. Children are vulnerable members of the society," he says.
The Lawyer adds that the children of the petitioners, who just received their results which do not match the hard work, shall be disenfranchised further unless the court protects their fragile minds by directing that their KCPE results be reviewed in good time.
Omari has cited Article 35 puts the State under obligation to publish and publicize any important information affecting the nation adding that KCPE results are a matter of national importance and it is against the candidates' legitimate expectations when such important results are not checked for apparent errors on record before release
He says students from various schools including those of the petitioners from Greenhill Academy Mixed Day and Boarding and Junior School stand to lose opportunities in schools of their choice due to what they believe are erroneous results.
"There were no cases of reported irregularities at the Greenhill Academy Mixed Day and Boarding and Junior School and the candidates can only speculate as to what might happened during the marking process. It does not make sense that Greenhill Academy Mixed Day and Boarding and Junior School which has been performing well in KCPE examinations throughout the years preceding 2023 has suddenly taken a deviation of more than 100 marks downwards. No sensible explanation can possibly be put forth," Omari states.
He states that the KCPE results 2023 for the two schools are prejudicial to the rights of education of the affected candidates.
"The school faced unfair treatment, manifest injustice oppressive and unfair or unresponsive official conduct," the lawyer argues
According to Kiio, his daughter sat for the said examinations at Kitengela International School for the year 2023 where he obtained 331 marks.
Kilo adds that the release of the said examinations by KNEC was rushed and he believes that is why his child was allocated a lower mark than what she deserved, subjecting the child to mental stress and torture
"I pray for general damages on her behalf. Since Kitengela International School has for more than 3 years posted good results in national examinations and it was my Child's legitimate expectation that he would as a candidate in the school perform well given the school's previous record of KCPE results," the parent states in his affidavit filed in court.
He argues that there is a marked variance between the marks scored by students in the Kitengela International School in the previous years and marks posted for the year 2023 in the respective years' KCPE examinations.
Kemuma, on her part, contends that there are massive anomalies in the KCPE results where her son obtained 337 marks.
She argues the marking and release of the exams was rushed and believes that is what occasioned her son to be allocated lower marks than what he deserved.
While seeking the interim orders, Omari asked the court to take judicial notice of the uproar by the teachers, students and members of the general public over the matter.
"Form one (1) selection is set to start on November 27, 2023, and l am apprehensive that the exercise is rushed and makes meaningless the 90-day review period under the rules as my child misses a secondary school of her choice should the review be in her favour," Kilo states.
Further, he argues that there is an urgent need for the court to protect children's right to education by staying the commencement of form one placement exercise pending the hearing and determination of his suit
"That unless this honourable court moves with urgency to protect my child's and other children's right to education, the said right as stipulated under the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the Children Act 2022, International instruments and other enabling laws stand to be a mockery and a merely academic if not a cosmetic right in the said laws," the petitioner says.
The court papers also reveal that Kitengela International School has previously presented its grievances to the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection concerning the December 2022 results and the school since to date is still waiting for official communication from the ministry.
"The actions by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection unfortunately point to a firm resolve to damage the future of the Kenyan children yet all private schools like Kitengela International School do is to close the education gap where the government is unable to," Kilo states.
The lawsuits are pending hearing.