Headteachers and other education stakeholders perform different traditions anchored towards motivating the candidates ahead of the national examinations.
Each tradition performed during that period is enshrined within the country’s education policies.
Their significance includes curbing exam malpractices, inspiring and empowering the candidate ahead of the transition.
For the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Primary School Education Assessment (KPSEA) for grade six students, some of the common traditions are done before rehearsals.
Candidates sitting for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) engage in those activities before the practical exams.
Traditions and Their Significance
Scrubbing Desks and Floors
This exercise is common, especially in public institutions where learners share desks and other amenities. Scrubbing of desks and walls is encouraged by most exam centre managers to help curb cases of cheating.
Clean desks help invigilators monitor students and even prevent the cancellation of school results due to cheating allegations.
Introducing Special Meals
Candidates are treated to some special diets during the exam period and even days before kick-off to motivate them.
According to teachers, special meals are incentives for students ahead of exams.
Experts argue that it also helps create a level playing ground enabling candidates to put in their best during national exams.
Former Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha banned prayer days in schools before the start of national exams. He argued that the session allowed some parents to sneak in material to candidates who were flagged for promoting exam malpractice.
However, some schools devised other special means to lift candidates’ spirits ahead of exams.
New practices include inviting religious leaders to various institutions who lead them through supplication prayers.
Some schools, especially private ones, take candidates on trips.
The trips were always meant to allow candidates to ease off the pressure and start their exams with fresh minds.
Some institutions organise special parties for students before exams. In some boarding schools, it is referred to as the last supper.
During the parties, teachers and some education stakeholders make promises to candidates to motivate them.
Some candidates are promised fully paid trips, scholarships, money and even gadgets for posting stellar performances.
Other practices included prohibiting receiving success cards before doing finals papers, discouraging students from discussing after each paper and encouraging candidates to jog and even scream after each paper.
However, various institutions outlawed some traditions, such as an academic fire where students used to burn their books, especially after sitting their last papers.