MPs give students powers to challenge Knec

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By SAMWEL OWINO
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Candidates whose results have been cancelled by the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) can now challenge the decision after Parliament adopted a Bill establishing an examinations appeals tribunal.

The MPs, in their morning sitting, passed the Kenya National Examinations (Amendments) Bill 2016 through its Third Reading.

The Bill is now awaiting Presidential assent to become law.

But the MPs failed to clip KNEC’s powers to cancel examination results of students before informing them, as was contained in the initial Bill.

Following passage of the Bill, KNEC officials found guilty of examination irregularities or malpractices, who previously enjoyed immunity from prosecution, will now face the law as the immunity has been lifted.

The Bill, sponsored by Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi, states: “A member, officer, agent or staff of the council whose omission or commission leads to an examination irregularity commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding Sh5 million”.

“Where the council has a reason to believe that there was an examination irregularity or malpractice, the council shall conduct investigations and undertake necessary disciplinary proceedings,” it reads further.

The examinations appeals tribunal shall consist of a chairperson appointed by the Education Cabinet Secretary and not less than four or more than six other members who shall be appointed by the Cabinet Secretary.

Other members of the tribunal include a representative from the Kenya Curriculum Development Council, a representative from the Teachers’ Service Commission, and a quality assurance official from a public university.

Members of KNEC are automatically disqualified from being in the tribunal.

“There shall be an assessor to the appeals tribunal who shall be an advocate of not less than five years, appointed by the tribunal with the approval of the Cabinet Secretary, and who shall attend the proceedings of the tribunal and advise it on questions of law,” reads the Bill.

The MPs also struck out sections of the Bill that would have barred KNEC officials from announcing cancellation of results unless the tribunal has listened to the affected students and made a determination.

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