The government has banned public events from schools with effect from next week.
The move is meant to ensure that there is uninterrupted focus on students, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed announced.
The CS said the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) has already released the 2018 National Examinations calendar.
Only candidates will remain in school as the other learners close for the November/December holiday.
Ms Mohamed says she will personally lead the teams monitoring the opening of examination containers across the country, particularly in areas mapped out by the examination council as requiring keen attention.
Speaking during the annual Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) conference in Mombasa, Ms Mohamed said her ministry will also ensure that there is sufficient surveillance at all examination centres to work with teams from multiagency government officials.
The CS said the school heads will be responsible for their respective examination centres in line with the Knec guidelines.
“Principals must efficiently and effectively administer the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Examination due in a few months. Continue preparing candidates adequately to improve the results of this year’s examinations,” Ms Mohamed said.
She urged the principals to guard against practices that might lead to exam irregularities, leading to the cancellation of results or deregistration of schools.
“You are the centre managers, waking up at the crack of dawn to pick up examination papers from the containers and returning scripts every evening. In order to maintain the utmost integrity of the national exams, you will be responsible for your centres. Execute the guidelines and seek reinforcement when needed,” she said.
According to investigations and an analysis by KNEC, last year’s irregularities were attributable to collusion among candidates who had been supplied with “answers” sneaked into examination rooms, in certain cases, by teachers.
“This unfortunate, regrettable and antagonistic practice must stop. Our children deserve a fair chance and we are putting in place mechanisms to ensure that all of them are absorbed into the education continuum,” the CS said.
Dr Mohamed said compromising candidates jeopardises their future.
“This is a practice that we must all guard against. As centre managers, ensure that you witness the opening of examination scripts to verify that they are intact, work with examination officials to enforce examination rules, witness the sealing of answer sheets after examinations, and keep all unnecessary staff away from school compounds during the season,” she said
Ms Mohamed urged the 8,000 principals to improve the delivery of quality education.
“You are all charged with the responsibility of leading thousands of secondary schools in our country. Similarly, you bear the enviable stature of impacting and influencing the lives of millions of children at their most sensitive and most critical stage,” the CS said.
Dr Mohamed said the conference is a platform to discuss and evaluate policy, reflect, share best practices and agree on the best reinforcing approach to deliver the collective mandate of providing the highest quality and holistic education to learners.
“You are all very valuable to this country. I am aware that yesterday, we lost the Principal of Giachuki Secondary School and his wife through a road accident on their way to this conference,” the CS said.
Meanwhile, Kessha Chairman Indimuli Kahi, another principal from Pokot died in Nairobi of a heart attack.
The CS said that in February, the ministry spearheaded nationwide education quality dialogue sessions in every county.
The meetings found out that school heads have the basic practical knowledge of the situation obtaining in all schools.