Students arrested as top officials meet to stem exam cheating
By Augustine Oduor and Eric Abuga
| September 30th 2018
Some 19 students have been arrested over examination malpractices as the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) stepped up security measures and listed hot spots in examination cheating ring.
Security personnel are alert in Garissa, Kisii, West Pokot, Kiambu, Coast and Eastern regions as the government cautioned against reemergence of cheating cartels.
Knec chairman George Magoha yesterday toured Homa Bay, Kisii and Nyamira counties and inspected 11 examination storage facilities as the government stepped up security ahead of the tests.
In Elgeyo Marakwet County, students of Marakwet Boys High School were arrested in connection with the burning of their school dormitory after the school denied them access to mobile phones ahead of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.
Marakwet West Sub-county Director of Education Evans Onyancha said the candidates were planning to use the mobile phones to cheat in the national exam.
“All the 209 candidates went away without permission from the school headteacher. Two of the Form Four students are suspected to be behind the assault and are being sought by the police,” said Onyancha.
The developments come as the Ministry of Education issued a stern warning against examination cheating.
Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang warned that schools where examination papers will be pre-exposed will be shut and administration of examinations suspended.
Prof Magoha yesterday revealed that some school heads in Kisii County were collecting up to Sh30,000 to aid in examination cheating.
“We know those individuals selling examination papers at Sh30,000. Despite the warnings we still have individuals selling and buying fake exam papers,” said Magoha.
Kenya Certificate of Primary Edcation (KCPE) exam will be done in 27,161 centres, while 10,077 centres will host KCSE candidates.
“We will not reveal the names of those people but instead give them a chance to reform before the exams begin in the next two weeks. To the children, be humble and know that exam has not leaked,” Magoha said.
He spoke as he toured the wider Nyanza region and said no civilian will be allowed to reach exam safe houses.
The tour by Magoha is part of the high level impromptu visits to schools, security checks on storage facilities and top-notch meetings that is being rolled out to secure examinations.
Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and Kipsang are expected in Isiolo on Tuesday as part of a wider plan to monitor exams.?
It emerged that top officers will storm all the hot spots to bust the cheating rings ahead of the start of the tests.
At least 20 schools have been put on intense security watch as Knec flagged cheating hot spots in the country.
Kipsang said senior ministry and Knec officials will step up the exam monitoring exercise starting this week.
Already, top ministry officials, exam officers and head teachers’ representatives have been summoned tomorrow to a high-level briefing meeting at Jogoo House.
Sources reveal that the meeting to be attended by primary and secondary school heads’ representatives, regional coordinators, county directors of education and other examination officials will mark the start of a two-month multi-sectoral strategy for examinations.
This comes as Knec hosted top security officials on Friday led by Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to strategise on best ways to keep examination papers secure and candidates safe during the entire administration process.
Boinnet said his officers are ready to guard examinations and promised that this year’s security will be tighter than previous two years.
“I want to assure you that the National Police Service has the capacity to adequately address security challenges and ensure the rule of law as envisioned and prioritised by the Government of Kenya,” said Boinnet.
Kipsang, Magoha, Interior PS Karanja Kibicho and Knec acting Chief Executive Officer Mercy Karogo attended the security consultative meeting between Knec and security officers.
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