I think it is time the Kenya National Examinations Council renamed Chemistry Paper Three.
If I had the chance of being consulted on its new name, I would go for “Humiliation” since it perfectly suits the scenario.
This year, I happened to invigilate the KCSE exams in a third world school, somewhere in Kuresoi North and much as the Kenyan Government insists on the 100% transition, not all students are well suited to sit for some papers.
Chemistry Paper Three is one of the “grey” areas for such kind of candidates.
Within the first 30 minutes, 70 % of the students had broken 2 to 3 test tubes.
I do not know whether to associate the broken test tubes with fear or ignorance.
This means that the candidates were literary stuck knowing how “well-equipped” such schools are.
Others could not simply measure Liquid X using a burette!
The ability to follow instructions is crucial if a student has to excel in exams, Practicals included.
The situation usually becomes fatal if students cannot follow instructions well.
One of the instructions required the students to ignite a particular solid.
Instead of passing it quickly through fire, some were overheating the glass directly.
I was perplexed when a student’s solid was set ablaze and the glass broke.
The boy kept on running from one point to another wondering what to do.
He finally dipped the glass containing the solid in water and what followed next…I think your guess is as good as mine.
THE PAIN OF EXACT AMOUNTS OF REAGENTS
In a bid to curb cheating in KCSE examinations, KNEC has come up with a new mechanism-delivering the exact amounts of reagents used in all Practicals.
Due to tension, almost 15 candidates had spilt the reagents needed for the Practical within the first 20 minutes.
This means that they could not carry out the Practical since there were no reagents to be used.
We helplessly sat watching the candidates score nothing since the reagents could not be locally prepared by their teacher.
Take note of the fact that the student needs to follow the instructions given to mix the reagents, make observations, record them and infer.
PHYSICALLY- CHALLENGED CANDIDATES
One of the invigilators manning the examination centre was also forced to hold the apparatus for a physically- challenged girl whose right hand was dysfunctional.
I did wonder if this was necessary.
Why can’t KNEC do away with Practicals for the physically challenged candidates?
Why subject them to such humiliation which reminds them of who they are?
I am appealing to the Kenya National Examinations Council to reconsider the issue of Practicals.
KCSE should not be a matter of life and death!