An audit of last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results would be appropriate given the surprisingly impressive results by a few schools.
And this should not in any way be taken as condemning the performance of any particular school or county. This is because any candidate can register good results from any school.
Success in examinations is not exclusive to any school or region. However, for a perfect exam system it is prudent to always go back and audit the process from setting the test papers, administration of the exams and the marking process.
This will also improve the quality of the tests and ensure no return to the dark days of massive malpractices and cheating.
It is laudable, for instance, that Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu noted that there were no cases of cheating reported. This was a notable improvement despite a few challenges like the firing of some examiners while still engaged in the exercise.
The Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) should not bury its head in the sand and pretend that there could be no more challenges.
The council and the Ministry of Education should continually seek to foolproof the examinations and attend to each complaint or irregular trend noted in last year’s examination.
Indeed, education experts have warned that it is a tall order to improve a school’s mean score by more than one point in one year.
An audit of the most improved schools would be in order without condemning them. But should anyone be found culpable, they should not be spared.
In the past, individual candidates, teachers, parents and schools have been caught cheating in the national examinations.
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The irregularities were so massive before 2016 that a thorough clean up at the exam council had to be conducted led by the late Prof George Magoha who was then at the helm.
The council redeemed its image and the standards of the national tests went a notch higher. Indeed, it was seen as a reward when Prof Magoha was appointed the Education Cabinet secretary. We should never go back to when exams were seen as a sham.
It has been said that the collapse of the education system is the collapse of a nation. This is because the performance of students represents the country’s future.
The candidates will be tomorrow’s doctors, lawyers, teachers, business people, civil servants and other nation builders. Honesty, integrity, hard work and diligence should be instilled in the young minds right from school to the work place.
It can be done with the right approach and political goodwill. Let the Education CS and the exam council instill confidence among Kenyans on the examination process and not tire from seeking to improve.