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Exam cheating a thing of the past, say education officials

EDUCATION
By Wainaina Wambu | November 20th 2018
Michael Mwendwa celebrates with teachers and pupils of Star Sheikh Academy in Athi River, Machakos County, yesterday after he scored 433 marks in KCPE. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Four candidates had their results cancelled during this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations.

Releasing the results yesterday at Star of the Sea Primary School in Mombasa, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the Government’s sustained war on cheating had helped restore credibility to the national exams.

Amina also said that none of the nine papers had been leaked. However, 26 teachers were found to have aided in exam irregularities and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said they would face disciplinary action.

She lauded the measures taken against cheating during the second term, saying they had prevented most of the "would be cheating cases".

“However, during the monitoring exercise, our vigilant teams discovered four candidates guilty of impersonation. These four will have their results cancelled,” she said.

Last year, no candidate’s results were cancelled.

The CS, who termed the results "a pure and true reflection of hard work", vowed that the Government would continue to commit resources to curbing cheating. She told off critics who had questioned the multi-agency team tasked with traversing the country to monitor and ensure the exams were credibility.

Senior Government officials, including Cabinet secretaries, chief administrative secretaries and principal secretaries, visited different centres in the country to oversee the process.

Exams credibility

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, also visited exam centres and assured learners of the tests' credibility.

“It, therefore, surprises me that the ministry’s unrelenting resolve to restore utmost esteem to Kenyans' academic papers threatens some of us,” said Amina.

“We have no apologies to make and expect that the short, medium and long-term results will justify the need for continued vigilance."

Amina said the monitoring had helped ease access to all 47 counties, including far-off regions in arid and semi-arid lands.

She added that a culture of valuing education was emerging and being championed by candidates.

"The ministry conducted a cost-benefit analysis and concluded that the cost of administering national examinations is much lower compared to the shame, ridicule, indignity and potential joblessness that we subject millions of our children whose results are either cancelled due to cheating or whose certificates stand to be frowned upon by all and sundry,” said Amina.

Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) Chairman George Magoha said there had been a few cases of fake papers being bought and urged parents and learners to restore faith in the examination process.

“This exam has been credible and it has been set and managed by Kenyans,” said Prof Magoha.

Record time

The marking of the exams was also finished in record time, two days earlier than last year.

“We have reached a stage now where we have agreed that cheating is in the past. A very small percentage of teachers, education officials and even Knec people are still in the habit of trying to expose exams prematurely. We will not allow it,” Magoha warned.

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