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Get police off exam centres, say senators

By Rawlings Otieno | November 11th 2019
A police officer mans an examination centre at Sawagongo High School in Siaya. [File, Standard]

Senators want the heavy deployment of police officers in exam centres to be withdrawn, citing the intimidation of candidates.

In a heated debate last week, senators faulted the move to deploy police officers, and want Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to shed light on the issue.

Senators want Prof Magoha to explain why the Ministry of Education deployed a high number of heavily armed police officers at national examination centres during the just-concluded Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) tests.

Militarised centres

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula questioned why, despite the heavy deployment of police officers, there were still cases of malpractices being reported in the exams.

Senators Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Enock Wambua (Kitui), Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Ali Ibrahim (Wajir), Mohamed Faki (Mombasa) and Petronila Were (nominated) supported Mr Wetangula’s statement, and demanded the withdrawal of police officers from exam centres.

Mr Kilonzo said the heavy deployment of police officers was a matter of concern for everyone.

Dr Ibrahim asked Education ministry officials to stop militarising examination centres.

However, Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) defended the deployment of police officers, saying they are not in the schools because of the candidates, but because of the teachers and the public who have been helping them cheat.

“Tough situations call for tough measures. Cheating in exams is actually a bigger problem, and it is a criminal syndicate. There are people who have been arrested and are in court. Let us not always oppose moves by the government that are meant to help in the long term,” he said. 

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