Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed has expanded the role of school heads during this year’s administration of national examinations.
The 37,238 head teachers whose institutions will be centres of examination will take personal responsibility if cases of cheating are reported in KCPE and KCSE exams.
She said that starting this year, the role of centre managers will be expanded to include witnessing the opening of examination scripts to ensure they are intact.
They will also witness the sealing of answer sheets after examinations and will be expected to work closely with examination officials to enforce examination rules.
The head teachers will also be required to keep off unnecessary staff from school compounds during the season.
“The ministry will not condone cases where some teachers sneak into the precincts of school compounds with the single-most aim of helping candidates to cheat,” said Amina.
Previously, heads only reported to the distribution centre in sub-county to collect question papers and return the candidates’ answer scripts to the distribution centre on daily basis.
Amina said investigations have shown that cases of examination irregularities arise out of conduct by a few unprofessional teachers and examination officials.
She said the officials colluded with students to sneak materials into examination rooms.
“To stamp out cheating, principals who are appointed as centre managers must rise to the occasion and provide leadership in the administration of examinations,” said Amina.
The details came as Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) assured students and schools over preparations for the examinations.
Some 1.7 million candidates have been registered to sit the examinations. Of these, 1,060,703 will sit KCPE with 664,585 sitting KCSE.
KCPE examinations will be done across 27,161 centres while 10,077 centres will host KCSE candidates.
Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) National Chairman Kahi Indimuli said teachers will cooperate with the ministry to deliver credible examinations.
“We also pride in clean examinations and to that end we shall offer our best to support the course,” said Mr Indimuli.
Knec Chief Executive Officer Mercy Karogo said that heads will now verify that the bags/boxes containing examination materials are intact.
“These measures must be sustained and where necessary improved upon to ensure there is no retrogression whatsoever to the era of exam cheating and other irregularities which undermined our entire education system,” said Amina.
On security, Knec Chairperson Prof George Magoha announced that additional 40 containers have been procured and installed, bringing to 459, the total number of strong safes.
Overall, Karogo said preparation activities, which involve field officers, and the conduct of the examinations are ongoing.
She said 4,789 new examiners were trained between April 15 and 21.
Karogo said that the list of the newly trained examiners has been forwarded to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for vetting and to ascertain their qualifications, employment, registration, work station and discipline status.
She also said that vetting of field officers, which includes the centre managers, supervisors, invigilators, drivers and security personnel is ongoing.