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Steven Austin: A Look At The Company That Prints KCPE And KCSE Examinations

  • Steven Austin was founded in 1768 as a printing company in Hetford
  • In 1772, Stephen published the first newspaper in the county known as Harford Mercury

The 2023 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations results have been clouded with controversy revolving around the marks the candidates scored. 

Some of the disgruntled parents and guardians moved to court to halt the ongoing Form One selection questioning the validity of the KCPE results released by the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC). 

So who prints KCPE And KCSE exams?

The national exams are printed by UK based Steven Austin, a company that has been in existence from 1768. It was not until 1842 that the firm printed a Persian examination paper for the East India College. 

According to their website, the company provides “world-class security printing, packaging and distribution services for high-stakes examination.”

They produce and distribute more than 100 million assessments to over 160 countries yearly.

In 2016, the Kenyan government, in a bid to curb the many cases of exams malpractices identified Steven Austin Printing Limited. 

This has been the company that has been printing the national exams since then.

Raila Odinga

Former prime minister Raila Odinga has faulted backhand deals for the mess that has been the 2023 KCPE exams. 

According to the ODM leader, the government had approached the UK based printer that has been responsible for printing exams papers for a kickback but this was declined prompting the cancellation of the contract. 

“We have established that early this year, the Kenya Kwanza administration suddenly and abruptly stopped this contract just because the UK company refused to give kickbacks.”

In the press briefing, Raila went on to say that this is what led to the tender to be hurriedly awarded to a Mombasa Road based printing firm. 

“Without following any legal process, the KK awarded the KCPE contract to a politically connected local company based in Mombasa Road in Nairobi,” he said. 

Adding that, 

“The government was advised that the local company could not print the exams and ensure its security, especially on short notice. Nobody would budge because there were kickbacks involved.”

He went on to say,

“Grades in science, social studies, and religious studies were truncated. The rollout saw KCPE candidates get graded in subjects they never sat for. The system deployed could not produce the plus and minus signs; what a shame,” he remarked.

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