Kenya Certificate of Primary Education

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The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) is a certificate awarded to students after completing the approved eight-year course in primary education in Kenya. The examination is supervised by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC), an examining body in Kenya under the Ministry of Education. The same body also conducts and regulates the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), a certificate awarded to students after completing secondary education. KCPE and KCSE were both started in 1985 when the 8-4-4 system of education was introduced in Kenya.


The maximum mark was previously 700; it is currently is 500. That is, however, virtually impossible due to the standardization (cutting off some marks in each subject).

Due to the limited places in Kenyan high schools, these exams are used to determine which high school students will be eligible to join. Many students do not join secondary school because they are unable to afford the fees.


The subjects examined include Maths, English, Swahili, Social Studies, Science and Religious Studies (Christian/Islamic/Hindu). Social Studies includes a bit of Kenyan History, Civil education and all the Religious Studies.

The exam time runs from the second week of November and takes four days. Marking of written scripts (that is the Swahili Insha and the English Composition) is done over the December holidays. Results are then announced by the Minister for Education some three or four days after Christmas day. Efforts are ongoing to scrap the KCPE exam.

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