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KNEC, TSC Police and Principals Unmasked in KCSE Exam Cheating

KNEC, TSC Police and Principals Unmasked in KCSE Exam Cheating

The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC), the police, and school principals are the weakest links in examination administration, which results in widespread irregularities.

It was also discovered that political interference, teacher employers’ (TSC) inaction, and oversights by schools contribute to the erosion of governments’ efforts to ensure the credibility of national examinations.

Various education stakeholders testified before the National Assembly Education Committee in Nairobi on Friday.

The committee is investigating the conduct and administration of the KCSE examinations from last year.

The Teachers Service Commission’s (TSC) promotion criteria, according to MPs, contribute to unnecessary competition that encourages teachers to engage in misconduct.

The number of exam cheating incidents involving mobile phones decreased to 21 according to Dr. Gladys Malonza, the Regional Exam Officer for Nairobi.

She stated that approximately 71 mobile phones were confiscated the previous year.

She reported that instances of impersonation decreased from 18 to only two.

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Malonza noted that despite bringing the cases to the attention of KNEC, no one was found to be liable for prosecution.

‘‘All individuals who were found to aid in the examination malpractice were arrested but later released. This informs the gaps that exist in the police Directorate of Criminal Investigation department,’’ she added.

The response appears to blame police for failing to prosecute the perpetrators due to insufficient evidence collection.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers Secretary General Akelo Misori, on the other hand, was unafraid to declare that the country’s national exams have become extremely competitive.

According to Misori, the leakage is merely a smokescreen for what actually occurs during national exam administration.

Misori said the presence of impersonators, phones, and other illegal materials found during the examination period is a clear indication that cheating existed in the schools.

He proposed repealing the KNEC Act of 2012, arguing that the current situation does not permit the Council to deregister any candidate who has violated the examination code.

Misori stated that the leakage truly reflects the crisis of corruption in the country, which includes the stealing of public funds. He also emphasized the need to identify the areas of weakness in the printing of exams, distribution, storage, and administering of examinations.

The KNEC Act states that any candidate who, during an examination, copies from the script of another candidate, communicates with another candidate with the intent of assisting the candidate in answering the exam, or seeks assistance in answering, or who is in possession of a textbook or electronic device without lawful authority, shall be disqualified from the entire examination.

And if (candidate) has already taken a paper at the examination, the paper will be canceled, according to the Act.

Mosori also stated that some exam markers decried the intimidation by chief examiners when they discovered students with similar answers, which is a clear indication that the question papers had been leaked.

Legislators were also informed that senior political leaders influence examination malpractice by ordering the release of exam results for those implicated in the vice.

According to Margaret Lesuda, the Nairobi Regional Director of Education, they received a communication that was said to have come from above, requesting them to shelve the case because it was an election period. She further stated that they had nothing to say and only folded back.

The committee chairman, Julius Melly (Tinderet, MP), accused parents of aiding the crime by transferring students from their original schools to enroll in other institutions in order to gain favor through the quarter system.

Melly stated that there was an emerging trend where parents were adopting the movement of children to register for examinations in ASAL areas while they studied in a different region. She questioned whether the movement was due to the prevalence of cheating in those areas.

According to education officials, parents in some Nairobi schools are transferring their students to take advantage of the government’s admission requirements based on the quota system.

Melly expressed concern about the transfer spree happening in most schools in Nairobi, particularly in Kamukunji and Starehe Sub-County. She stated that she did not understand the reason behind this trend and requested the committee’s assistance in addressing the issue.

Misori continued by saying that rather than solely blaming the Council, the credibility of the teachers is also put to the test, as they use KNEC’s weak links as a conduit for business.

‘‘The Centre Managers determine and demand who to administer exams in their schools. This is a straight cut for allowing the examination compromise,’’ he said.

William Kemei, the principal of Lenana, criticized TSC for using teacher performance scores to promote teachers. According to him, this has allowed teachers to obtain promotions through unethical means.

KNEC Exam Irregularities Were Canceled Due to Elections, Committee Told
KNEC Exam Irregularities Were Canceled Due to Elections, Committee Told

Kemei suggested that KNEC widen the scope of assessment to minimize cheating and implore quality assurance measures such as discipline of the principal and students, infrastructure development during their tenure, and talent enhancement, among others. Kemei made this recommendation to the council.

Rebecca Tonkei, a representative for the county of Narok, blamed the system for promoting teachers, stating that this has caused many deserving teachers to remain in the same job group for a long time.

Tonkei stated that there ought to be certain parameters to consider, and they would focus on schools with a history of good performance.

She also expressed concern that the heads of such schools may attempt to compromise quality. Additionally, she referred to KNEC as the main culprit in facilitating cheating and intimidating examiners.

According to her, KNEC withholds information provided by whistleblowers.

Abdul Ibrahim, a member of parliament for Mandera South, stated that the country is experiencing a systemic problem for which the committee must determine the root cause.

‘‘If a calf is taught how to cheat by the cow, the calf will not have any other way but to follow suit. This problem was there during the tenure of past education ministers. We need to find a way we can handle this dragon,’’ he said.

Misori reiterated that at the school level, the pressure to achieve a high mean grade as a key performance indicator has compelled administrators to engage in unethical behavior.

“Principals in our schools engaged in extensive and systematic cheating in their schools. Beginning with heavily compensating security officers, supervisors, invigilators, and even some education,” he said.

However, the head of the Parents Association, Silas Obuhatsa, excluded the parents from the blame, stating that only the head of schools and the police can have examination centers or marking centers.

Obuhatsa expressed that when the police arrest the culprit for impersonation or transporting illegal materials to exam rooms, they do not allow the law to take its course.

Furthermore, according to Obuhatsa, parents do not have any means of power to investigate such matters.

KNEC, TSC Police and Principals Unmasked in KCSE Exam Cheating

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