Functions of KNEC and Challenges Facing KNEC

Last updated on August 13th, 2022 at 04:57 am

Here is a summary of the functions of KNEC (Kenya National Examination Council) according to the KNEC Act No.29 (2012).

We shall also highlight a couple of the challenges facing KNEC in the discharge of its responsibilities.


Functions of KNEC : Summary of KNEC’s Core Functions

According to KNEC act, the Kenya National examination council is mandated to undertake the following functions.

  • Develop relevant examination policies, examination procedures, and supporting regulations.
  • Develop various national examinations in Kenya at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education (with the exception of universities).
  • Register qualified candidates for various KNEC examinations in Kenya at the appropriate time according to published KNEC’s timetable.
  • Conduct the various national examinations (at the aforementioned levels) and process the examination results in a timely manner.
  • Award relevant certificates as well as diplomas to successful candidates.
  • Conduct research on all educational assessment procedures as and when required.
  • Carry out the equation of diplomas and certificates issued by other accredited examining boards (local and foreign).
  • Conduct various examinations and assessments on behalf of credible foreign examination boards such as ABE (Association of Business Executives).
  • Advise the Kenya National Government (and/or its agents) on matters relating to national examinations and certifications.


Official Mandate of KNEC (as outlined in KNEC Act, Section 10)

  • Set and maintain the required examinations standards.
  • Conduct public technical, academic, and other national examinations in Kenya from the to tertiary levels of education.
  • Award KNEC diplomas or certificates to the candidates who have met the threshold in such national examinations (Such diplomas or certificates shall not be detained from the successful candidate by any person/institution).
  • Confirm the authenticity of issued certificates or diplomas upon request by public institutions, government agencies, employers, learning institutions, and other parties.
  • Undertake research activities on educational assessments.
  • Advice public institutions on the development and/or use of any assessment or system upon request and according to the terms and conditions mutually agreed between such an institution and the council.
  • Promote the recognition of KNEC qualifications (conferred by the KNEC Council) internationally.
  • Advise the Government of Kenya on policy decisions that are relevant to or have ramifications on the core functions of KNEC or the administration/control of various examinations in Kenya.
  • Carry out other incidental activities that will help promote the conducive performance of the above-mentioned functions.

Challenges Facing KNEC

Lastly, we look at the various challenges facing KNEC currently.

·         Technological challenges

Some of the teachers assigned the responsibility to book students for the national examinations are not technologically savvy leading to delays or entry of wrong data on the KNEC portal when registering candidates for exams.

  • Poor transport network

KNEC faces immense challenges in delivering exam papers during national examinations especially in seasons of heavy rainfall due to lack of good roads in some regions of Kenya.

  • Lack of ethics/corruption

Despite the laudable improvement in the implementation of exam controls and safeguarding procedures, KNEC is still encountering cases of attempted cheating when administering national exams because of a lack of ethics among some students and teachers.

  • Lack of resources

Another obstacle hindering the council from successfully executing the above-explained functions of KNEC is insufficient budgetary allocations.

As a result, the council is unable to fund support activities, for instance, research in areas such as the emerging assessment standards.

  • Poor cooperation

Some of the stakeholders, for example, selected privately-run institutions fail to avail required exam administration resources such as ICT infrastructure effectively hampering the smooth running of the exam administration process.

KNEC Contacts

Offices: NHC (National Housing Corporation) House, Aga Khan Walk, Nairobi (Near KENCOM).

Telephone: 0720741001/0732333860



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