Ministry on red alert over new exam cheating tricks

Ministry on red alert over new exam cheating tricks.
Focus has now turned to schools support staff as likely points of examination cheating.

As the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) starts distribution of papers to the regional offices, it is emerging that the school cook, the fieldsman, watchman or secretary could be the secret card held by examination cheating cartels to penetrate this year’s national tests.

Confidential talking points by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha during a high-level security meeting last week revealed that with all other loopholes sealed, the cartel is now narrowing down to the non-teaching staff.

Magoha told the security officers meeting at the Kenya School of Government that some schools are planning to allow select teachers to hover around under the guise of being cooks and watchmen.

SEE ALSO :Knec releases pay rates for officials

Deliberate mistakes

In the planned scheme of cheating, Magoha said examination officials will support the cast in a collusion that will see some deliberate ‘mistakes’ made. A planned two kilometre surveillance of examination zones is slated to cut down on that.

“Claims of ‘mistakes’ in opening the second examinations paper during the morning session instead of the afternoon paper may be noted with intention to steal the examination,” Magoha said.

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To stop the execution of the plan, centre managers will ensure that no unauthorised person is in the examination centre for the entire period.

“It has come to our attention that some examination centres plan to retain subject teachers to teach candidates after the day’s examination. Any unauthorised teacher found in the precincts of the examinations room will be punished,” Magoha told the security officers.

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Upon the opening of papers, Magoha said, questions will be quickly sneaked to the teachers disguised as watchmen and cooks who will attempt them before smuggling the “answers” into examination rooms.

Regional commissioners, regional coordinators of education, TSC regional coordinators, county directors of education, TSC county directors, deputy county commissioners, assistant county commissioners and sub-county directors of education attended the meeting.

During the meeting, new padlocks and keys to the examination containers were issued.

The details emerged as regional briefings on examination administration ended yesterday and distribution of the papers to sub-counties kicked off just days to the start of the tests.

Some 1.8 million candidates will sit this years exams. Of these, 1,088,986 will sit the KCPE between October 29 and 31. Another 699,745 will sit the KCSE, to be conducted between October 21 and November 27.

SEE ALSO :14 arrested in raid on KCSE exam cheats

Yesterday, Saturday Standard established that Knec is already making deliveries to the containers. 479-odd metallic containers will be used for storage of examination papers across 338 sub-counties. The revelations are part of the unraveling efforts by Knec to expose the cartels.

Just last month, the Council unearthed a web of 315 schools planning to engage in examination irregularities across several counties. Knec internal investigations report revealed that some institutions are planning to station subject teachers in schools to help in cheating.

Some schools are also planning to use teachers to mark up KCPE examinations papers for candidates. In others, parents are collecting money to facilitate early exposure of examinations

In his talking notes, Magoha said a deliberate failure to transport the scripts from the containers using government vehicles and under the watch of police officers will be mooted.

Hired cheats

Knec examination administration regulations require that an armed security officer must man all vehicles. Magoha said some structures have been converted into areas where hired people will attempt questions before smuggling them into examination rooms.

After the meeting, Knec and security officers agreed on strategies to enhance the security of the 2019 national examinations.

Part of these will require deputy county commissioners (DCCs) and assistant county commissioners (ACCs) to be personally involved in the daily opening and closing of the containers. And once the examination papers for the day have been issued, the container will be locked and reopened when candidates’ answer scripts are returned.

“The security in charge of the container must adhere to the rules pertaining to the opening and closing of the container,” Magoha said. The meeting also agreed that each container be manned by four armed security officers on a daily basis.

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Kenya National Examination CouncilEducation Cabinet Secretary George MagohaExam cheating