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Probe Shows Pressure for Good Results Led to Malpractices in 2022 KCSE Exams

Probe Shows Pressure for Good Results Led to Malpractices in 2022 KCSE Exams

The pressure on school principals to post impressive results in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) may have led to malpractices in the 2022 exams, a National Assembly committee investigating alleged cheating has heard.

The National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Education was told that pressure on school heads from parents, society, and the Teachers Service Commission to post impressive results contributed to irregularities in the KCSE exams.

Stakeholders also blamed the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) and the general public for the vice that saw learners get illegitimate grades.

Nakuru County chairman for Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA) Kamu Manyara, attributed the pressure to school heads’ engagement in unethical practices to produce ‘impressive grades’.

He regretted incidents reported of school heads being frog marched out of their facilities by politicians and parents when candidates fail, saying such pressure drives them into unethical practices. 

Mr Manyara further revealed that TSC, which employs teachers, has also on instances sent show cause letters to school heads whose institution fail to post impressive performance, hence their efforts to cover up.

According to Mr Manyara, the integrity of the 2022 exam results was questionable and should be investigated.

The KESSHA chairman stated that the buck stops with KNEC, accusing the body of not doing enough to safeguard examination materials prior to their due date.

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He called on Knec to limit the number of people accessing exam materials and introduce security features that would help trace the origin of the leaked materials.

“Marking schemes were circulating on social media before the exams were held. We doubted their authenticity only to learn they were genuine after the exams were done. The ICT team tasked with data entry after marking should be investigated. Some collude with principals to enter favourable grades in exchange for monetary favours,” said Mr Manyara.

During the public hearings in Nakuru City, stakeholders told the committee how various players play a part or contribute to cheating and other malpractices in the administration of national exams.

Mr Francis Mugo, a teacher, suggested that individual universities should have their own entrance exams and not depend on KCSE to determine which applicants qualify to join the specific courses.

He said that this will curb cheating and ensure only deserving students are admitted to the university, saying that parents are paying hefty sums of money to schools which buy leaked exam materials.

He added that the Ministry of Education should stop categorising schools, terming it discriminatory and pushing principals to bend their integrity to save the face of their institutions and jobs.

“Teachers are under pressure to ensure their students go to universities. This is why some schools miraculously jumped their mean score with a deviation of more than four points,” said Mugo.

Lugari MP Nabii Nabwera lauded the residents for their insight, noting that this will go a long way in transforming the country’s education system.

The Committee on Education resolved to conduct a public inquiry into the allegations and make recommendations to the House following a public outcry on alleged irregularities in the exams.

The results announced by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu on January 20 drew mixed reactions from Kenyans, with some alleging cheating. This was after schools in some counties recorded what was perceived to be extraordinarily good performances.

Case in point was Nyambaria and Mobamba high schools, both in Nyamira County, which had all their 488 and 388 candidates respectively securing the C+ minimum university entry requirement. Mobamba had a mean score of 5.11 in 2021, which it raised.

Probe Shows Pressure for Good Results Led to Malpractices in 2022 KCSE Exams

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