Ortum Boys High School in West Pokot County has been closed indefinitely after students went on rampage on Saturday night, demanding to be assisted to cheat in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.
The students became unruly and destroyed property, forcing the administration to send them home.
West Pokot county education director Jared Obiero said he held a meeting with education stakeholders, the principal of the school and students on Saturday afternoon after receiving intelligence report that the students had planned a strike to protest 'non-cooperation' of their principal in the exam cheating scheme.
According to the official, the students demanded that the principal declares his stand and supports them in exam cheating.
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"We talked to the students telling them what they are demanding cannot be tolerated anywhere. But still they did not understand us. The principal is new and has been here for only three weeks. They kept asking him to declare if he supports them in exam malpractices," he said.
"The principal teaches Form Three physics. He told them the best he can do is to supervise teachers to teach them and make sure all of them attend classes," he added.
Last year, results of 320 students of the school were cancelled over cheating. Area Member of Parliament David Pkosing moved to court to challenge the KNEC decision, but the case was dismissed.
Contacted for comment, the school principal Mr Tiony Simon said he does not support exam malpractices and he had informed the students of his stand.
He noted that political interference contributed to the students’ unrest and asked politicians to keep out of school matters.
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"They claim they want to be assisted to pass exams through cheating but I dismissed them and told them teachers will prepare them for exams. This changed the mood and they started chanting that Tiony must go," he said.
The Kenya National Examination council (KNEC) had issued a statement on exam cheating, warning students and teachers against the malpractice.
"The council wishes to categorically state that, as has been the case in the last two years, all measures have been put in place to ensure that examination materials are safe and that no one will breach our enhanced security mechanisms at any point of the examination process," read a statement signed by the council's acting chief executive officer, Dr. Mercy Karogo.
"The council advises parents, candidates and other stakeholders not to be duped into purchasing any material purported to be genuine examination questions. Parents are advised not to fall prey to schemes used by unscrupulous people to fleece unsuspecting Kenyans," KNEC said.