The environment under which teachers mark Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations sometimes is disheartening. This years’ exercise was disrupted in two centers due to low pay and poor working conditions.
Some dormitories don’t have proper toilets and even some with broken window pens. Dining halls with dirty benches, tables and sharing beds put the situation worse. Marking at Machakos Girls high school and starehe Girls centre, almost halted because of the same reasons stated above.
At Machakos Girls High School and Starehe Girls Centre markers threatened to quit the exercise saying the money they were getting for each script was not enough. The markers had even packed their bags and returned their bedding at Machakos Girls. They had threatened to quit the exercise and deal with the consequences.
To rescue the situation,Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) acting chief executive Mercy Karogo resolved the stalemate and marking resumed. Knec had earlier pledged to review the marking rates for each script but the agency failed to effect the same when markers reported to their stations.
Below is the breakdown of the amount money teachers receive for marking various subjects.
History papers are paid at a rate of Sh56 while Geography scripts are rated at Sh58 per script.
Teachers who mark English papers are paid between Sh60 and Sh75 per script while those who mark Kiswahili papers get between Sh65 and Sh70.
Business Studies and Agriculture are the least rated at Sh46 per script. These were the subjects that are marked with the lowest amount.
Mathematics and Biology scripts are paid at a rate of Sh55 to Sh58 while Physics and Chemistry papers range between Sh52 and Sh55.
About 1,100 examiners marking Business Studies Paper 2 at Machakos Girls,had rejected the pay offered by Knec. Knec had promised to adjust the marking rates upwards as we have been negotiating with them for the past two years. The examiners are expected to complete marking in the next 15 days.
Kenya Union of Post-Primary Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary General Akello Misori yesterday confirmed that the dispute arose over payment of the Business Studies papers.
Misori had warned that the union would ask teachers to withdraw their services if their demands were not met.
Kuppet chairman Omboko Milemba accused Knec of using “cheap labour” to achieve its plan of releasing the KCSE results before Christmas.
“Quality marking must be separated from timelines that are simply supposed to make one look like they have beaten another timeline,” said Mr Milemba.
He added: “Examination marking is not a marathon race. Quality is important in such a process.”