The Kenya Certificate of Secondary education, abbreviated as KCSE, is the qualifying examination for candidates seeking certification after completion of their secondary school education in Kenya. The current secondary school system runs for four years, after which the students sit for the KCSE examination. In the course of secondary schooling, students are exposed to a wide range of subjects, touching on the sciences and humanities. They [students] are allowed to take both compulsory and elective subjects. The subject selection process is aligned with the national goals, aims and objectives of education in Kenya. The government, through various educational stakeholders, is involved in the students' subject selection process. Secondary school education is thus a vital for the promotion of political, economic, social and cultural values among the graduating students.
Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination period lasts for approximately a month. The examination period is characteristic of close supervision by government officials. Examination invigilators are assigned the duty of supervision, as they work closely with security personnel as the K.C.S.E. examination proceed. Secondary School students registered in the urban and rural schools are given equal opportunity for participation in the examination. The privilege is extended to incarcerated individuals, who are given the hope of self-improvement and better life once outside the prisons. In all scenarios of taking the examination, candidates are registered with the Kenya National Examination Council and included in the examination eligibility database. Cases of unregistered candidates awaiting examination are reported each year, arising from diverse reasons, both individual and logistical. The government has, however, made significant improvements in the K.C.S.E. examination registration processes, ensuring all eligible candidates have the opportunity to participate in the examination.
The processes following the completion of the examination involved marking and grading, which determines the performance of students in the examination. Students, alongside their relatives and friends highly anticipate the K.C.S.E. examinations results announcement. The attained grade determines the candidates’ ability to proceed with University or College education in the country. Some of the K.C.S.E. graduates opt for the pursuit of higher education outside the country, which does not lessen the burden of graduate numbers on the already limited University slots. It is therefore not unusual to find highly qualified students joining the College institutions, other than the University level, for which they are already qualified. However, all students get the opportunity to join institutions of higher learning, with the odds linked to individual economic huddles.
The recent developments concerning the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education have been efforts from the Ministry of Education, which has set in place measures to curb examination irregularities in the country. K.CS.E. is most affected by such irregularities, which compromise the entire educational structure in the country. The irregularities emanate from stakeholders in the educational sector, who do not hold the system with its deserving esteem. However, the situation is consistently improving, with the introduction of punitive measures for irregularities, and intensified examination supervisory procedures.
The credibility and status of the K.C.S.E. examination is set to improve with the drafting and enforcement of the new examination regulatory measures, and the intended new education system in Kenya. Students are well prepared for participation as productive Kenyan citizens, upon Secondary School graduation, through the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.