Knec's plea to exam candidates

Acting Knec Chief Executive Officer Mercy Karogo.

The national examinations agency has pleaded with the 1.9 million KCPE and KCSE candidates to avoid cheating in the upcoming tests.

In a passionate letter released yesterday, the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) said it is painful for the agency to cancel results each year for candidates who cheat.

The letter dated December 14 is sent to all candidates through primary school head teachers and high school principals.

Acting Knec Chief Executive Officer Mercy Karogo cautioned that in most cases, candidates are misguided by teachers, parents and classmates to participate in examination malpractice.

“These people mistakenly think that they are helping you, but instead they are exposing you to suffering through loss of examination results,” cautioned Karogo.

The one-page letter advises candidates that engaging in examination malpractice will not make them better children.

But even with the plea, Karogo cautioned that the council will not hesitate to cancel national examination results for cheats.

“No examination results can be given to a candidate who has cheated because results are only given for a candidate's own honest efforts,” said Karogo.

Education CS George Magoha.

The council also warned of dire consequences for those who will engage in exam malpractice, citing Section 27(1) of the Knec Act (2012), which spells out stern penalties for examination cheats.

“A person who, before or during an examination, has in his or her possession or under his or her control any examination paper or any part thereof, or any material or information purporting to relate to the contents of any paper or material for that examination, without lawful excuse, commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or a fine not exceeding Sh2 million, or both” reads the Act.

What, however, will touch the hearts and souls of candidates as they receive their letters from Knec is the passionate advice on examination conduct.

“In order for you to receive your results, you must not get involved in trying to obtain any unfair assistance from anybody. You must produce your own honest work during examinations,” said Karogo.

The Knec letter to all candidates is timely as it shall reach schools just before they close for second term scheduled for December 23.

The candidates will stay home for about one week for Christmas holiday, after which they will resume third term on January 4.

The revised education calendar for the candidates shows that KCPE examinations will be done between March 22 and 24.

Rehearsals will be done on March 19 with mathematics and English papers to be tackled on the first day of the examinations.

Science and Kiswahili subjects will be done on the second day, with social studies and religious education subjects done on the last day.

At least 1.2 million candidates will sit the three days examinations.

For KCSE, rehearsals have been scheduled for March 25, with written examinations kicking off on March 26. The examinations will run for three weeks and three days.

Some 751,150 candidates will sit the Form Four examinations.

Marking of the two tests will be spread between April 19 and May 7, according to Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.

The new examination timetable was released following huge learning disruptions occasioned by Covid-19 that saw schools lose up to nine months of study time.

Knec now says it is committed to a fair examinations process for all candidates, promising that no child will be disadvantaged.

With only 10 weeks to national examinations when learning resumes next month, the letter comes in time for candidates to start proper preparations for the tests.

The letter also comes as Knec flagged a list of counties it has over the years put on its radar.

Machakos, Meru, Isiolo, Turkana, West Pokot, Kericho, Narok, Elgeyo Marakwet, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera are some of the counties that have produced cases of examination cheating.

Kisii, Homa Bay, Bungoma, Kisumu and Migori counties in Western and Nyanza regions have also been flagged in the past two years over exam cheating.

In her letter, Karogo advises the candidates to report any teacher, candidate or parent who tries to entice them to participate in cheating.