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History and Government KCSE 2019 KNEC Report For KCSE 2020/2021 Candidates

History and Government equips students with adequate knowledge that enhances their understanding of social, economic and political developments of the world. Students are expected to relate this information to the Kenyan situation. The year 2019 KCSE History and Government examination was presented in two papers: Paper 1 (311/1) which covers the “History and Government of Kenya” while paper 2 (311/2) examines “Themes in World History and Governments.”

This report analyzes the performance of candidates in the year 2019 History and Government examination papers, paying special attention to the poorly performed items. It looks at what the questions tested; the candidatesweaknesses and where possible, advice to History and Government teachers with the aim of improving future performance in the subject


The table below shows perfomance of candidates in History and Government (311) over a period of four years: 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019.

History and Government KNEC KCSE 2019 Report

From the table above, we deduce the following: 

The candidature increased from 4583230 in 2018 to 483678 in 2019. This is an increase of 25448 candidates. This is a clear indication that the candidature for History and Government as a subject has consistently been growing over the last couple of years

There was a slight drop in the performance of paper 1 (311/1) from a mean of 45.73 in 2018 to 45.00 in 2019. However, performance in this paper was better than that of paper two

There was a slight improvement in the performance of paper 2 (311/2) from a mean of 36.68 and an S.D of 19.79 in 2018 to 37.00 in 2019 and an S.D of 20.457.

So far, the 2016 performance is the highest while 2017 is the lowest over the four year period under review.

History & Government Paper 1 (311/1

As mentioned earlier in this report, the performance of candidates in this paper slightly dropped from a mean of 45.73 and a Standard Deviation of 19.30 in 2018 to a mean of 45.00 and a Standard Deviation of 19.29 in 2019. This translates into an improvement index of 0.73

After analysing the questions, some weaknesses were noted in the candidatesresponses and have been pointed out here and the necessary advice to teachers given

Below are some examples of such questions. Where applicable, we have provided specific guidance to teachers and/or students

Question no.

Requirements: State two ways in which the Agikuyu interacted with the Maasai during the pre colonial period

Weaknesses in Candidates responses 

Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like

Through relationships. Through ceremonies

Expected responses 

(i) They intermarried. (ii) They traded/exchanged goods. (iii) They borrowed items from each other. (iv) They raided each other/fought

Advice to teachers 

Teachers to help learners differentiate among the social, political and economic aspects of interactions among traditional African societies

Question no.

Requirements: Identify one minority group whose rights were protected by the Constitution of Kenya at independence

Weaknesses in Candidates responses

Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like



The Europeans The Asians Minority indigenous African communities

Advice to teachers 

IIelp the learners to differentiate between the rights provided to individuals during independence time and those rights provided in the Constitution 2010

Question no. 1

Requirements: Give the main contribution made by Tom Mboya which improved the welfare of workers in Kenya during the colonial period

Weaknesses in Candidatesresponse 

Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like

He provided workers with money. Abolition of slave trade

Expected response 

He formed Trade union/workersunion movement 

Advice to teachers Assist the learners to interpret questions correctly and not guessing responses

Question no. 12 

Requirements: Outline two types of cases which are determined by the Kadhis courts in Kenya

Weaknesses in Candidatesresponse 

Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like

Murder case Rape case

Expected responses 

(i) Marriage cases; (ii) Divorce cases; (in)Inheritance cases; (iv)Personal status

Advice to teachers 

To clarify to the learners the different types of courts that we have in Kenya and their specific roles and jurisdictions

Question no.

Requirements: Give one classification of land ownership enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya

Weaknesses in Candidatesresponse Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like

British Land enclosure system

Expected responses (i) Public land (ii) Community land (111)Private land 

Advice to teachers Assist learners to clearly identify the types of land ownership in Kenya

Question no. 1

Requirements: Give the main reason why President Daniel Arap Moi banned ethnic organisations in 1979

Weaknesses in Candidatesresponse Some of the candidates gave wrong answers like: Lack of development. To fight injustices among the politics

Expected response In order to promote national unity 

Advice to teachers 

To cover syllabus adequately so that learners understand the topic on political developments and challenges after independence

Questions 21, 22, 23 and 24 were reported by examiners to have been popular with the candidates. Most of the candidates attempted them, although they did not necessarily get them right

The popular questions 

  1.  (a) Identify three political organisations that Ronald Ngala worked with in his political career. (3 marks)                                                                                                   (b) Discuss six contributions of Professor Wangari Maathai in the politics of Kenya. (12 marks)                                               
  2.  (a) State five economic challenges which Kenya was experiencing at independence. (5 marks

(b) Discuss five features of African Socialism which was adopted in Kenya after independence(10 marks

  1. (a) Give five qualities of a good public servant in Kenya. (5 marks

(b) Explain five functions of the civil service of the National Government of Kenya. (10 marks)

  1. (a) State five functions of the Controller of Budget of the Government of Kenya. (5 marks)                                                                                                                  (b) Explain five ways in which the recurrent expenditure funds are used by the County governments in Kenya(10 marks

History & Govermnent Paper 2 (311/2)

There was a slight improvement in the performance of paper 2 (311/2) from a mean of 36.68 in 2018 to 37.00 in 2019. This translates into an improvement index of +0.32

During the marking exercise, examiners reported that question numbers 18, 19 and 20 were popular with the candidates

The popular questions

18 (a) Highlight five changes which marked the Agrarian Revolution in Britain(5 marks.

(b) Discuss five effects of the Agrarian Revolution in the United States of America(10 marks

19 (a) Highlight five effects of scientific inventions on medicine(5 marks

(b) Describe five factors which have influenced industrialization in India(10 marks

20 (a) State five functions of the ancient city of Athens(5marks)

(b) Describe five challenges experienced in the City of Johannesburg(10 marks

22.(a) Identify the three countries that formed Triple Alliance before the outbreak of the First World War(3 marks

(b) Explain why the Allied powers were able to defeat the Central powers during the First World War(12 marks

23.  (a) State five objectives of the African Union(5 marks

(b) Explain five challenges facing the East African Community (EAC), 2001(10 marks

On the other hand, question 24 was reported to have been unpopular

The unpopular question 

24 (a) Identify five ways through which the supremacy of parliament may be limited in Britain(5 marks

(b) Discuss five functions of the Federal Government in the United States of America

(10 marks

Analysis on some questions show some weaknesses and the necessary advice to teachers. Below are some examples of questions and the mistakes that were noted in the candidatesresponses. Where applicable, we have provided specific guidance to teachers and/or students

Question no

Requirements: Name the centre where freed slaves were settled by the missionaries in E.Africa

Weaknesses in Candidatesresponses Most of the candidates were giving examples from Kenya and West Africa

Expected response Bagamoyo 

Advice to teachers Teachers to handle all parts of missionaries in East Africa as per the syllabus

Question no.

Requirements: Outline two functions of the ancient town of Kilwa

Weaknesses in Candidatesresponses Some candidates gave only general functions of towns.

Expected responses 

(i) It was a trading centre. (ii) It was an administrative centre. (111)It was a religious centre/Islamic centre. (iv)It was a defence centre

Advice to teachers Adequate syllabus coverage

Question no. 9 Requirements: Give one symbol of unity among the Shona during the precolonial period 

Weaknesses in Candidates responses Some of them gave the symbol of unity for the Ndebele instead of those for Shona

Expected responses (i) The religion (Mwari cult

The Royal Fire. (iii) The King/Mutapa

Advice to teachers

Effective syllabus coverage showing the difference between these two communities

Question no. 17 

Requirements: Give one chamber of the Congress in the United States of America

Weaknesses in Candidatesresponses Many candidates were confusing the chambers in India, Britain and U.S.A and so they mixed up the chambers of the three nations

Expected responses (i) The Senate (ii) The House of Representatives

Advice to teachers 

The teachers to use a chart to teach all the chambers in the three nations that are covered under Systems of Governments in other parts of the World

  1. Teachers should introduce their learners to proper use of action verbs used in testing for example state, describe, explain, etc.
  2. Teachers should effectively cover the syllabus within the time allocated. Teachers should expose their learners to application kind of questions in all topics.
  3. Teachers and students should use new text books approved by the Ministry of Education, that have content based on Constitution 2010.
  4. Teachers should desist from using unapproved revision materials/pamphlets and instead set their own standard tests for revision. Some of these revision materials have been known to mislead teachers and the learners. They do not have the correct content while others are even out of the syllabus.
  5. The teachers should teach their students to understand the rubric and adhere to it. Where applicable, teachers should organize and take students to relevant historical sites.
  6. Teachers should organize and participate in History seminars and symposia at Subcounty, County and National levels.
  7. Teachers should sensitize their learners on how to handle application questions.
  8. Teachers should use charts and maps to teach certain concepts like trade and migration.
  9. Teachers and students should access the KNECs annual backwash reports on KCSE so as to see common mistakes pointed out and the professional advice given therein with a view to avoiding such mistakes in future and improve the quality of teaching of History and Government. This will also better prepare candidates for examinations.
  10. The Government through the Teachers Service Commission to employ more History and Government teachers; Ministry of Education through Quality Assurance and Standards Council to enhance supervision of the instruction of the subject and teacher training institutions and universities to increase capacity to train more teachers of History and Government to supply sufficient number of teachers of History in our secondary schools.
  11. Principals and other teachers to change their attitude towards History and Government since it is no longer a booster subject but among the major subjects taught and examined in KCSE.
  12. Principals to avail varied reference materials for teaching and learning of History and Government.

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