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I take pride in CBC success and credible exams, says CS Magoha

Education CS Prof. George Magoha checks the index number of one of the Shimo la Tewa School year 2021 KCSE candidates at the school in Mombasa County on Monday, March 14, 2022. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

After three years at the Ministry of Education, Cabinet Secretary George Magoha believes implementation of the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC) and curbing of cheating in examinations will define his legacy.

Prof Magoha, who is overseeing the last national examinations under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tenure, said the introduction of container system to safeguard test papers has sealed cheating loopholes.

“The Kenya container system has delivered credible exams using a multi-agency team. It will not just be a presidential legacy but a Kenyan legacy from 2016 to 2022,” said the CS yesterday in Nyali, Mombasa, on the first day of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.

In the system introduced by then Education CS Fred Matiang’i, school principals pick and return test materials at the containers, which are under 24-hour security. 

Magoha served as the chairman of the Kenya National Examinations Council before President Kenyatta picked him for the Cabinet post. 

“I have managed to stop exam cheating. There are students in universities that are of international calibre and our qualifications are respected worldwide,” he said. 

On CBC, Magoha said 6,447 classrooms will be ready by the end of the month, adding that more than 4,000 have been completed and over 2,500 handed over to schools.

“Our original target was the end of April and we are at 83 per cent. Five counties are at 100 per cent and 10 others are at 90 per cent,” he said.

He noted that the government has saved about Sh400,046 in the construction of each classroom.

“I know it’s hard for leaders to acknowledge what has been done. We are building at Sh788,000 instead of Sh1.26 million and some of them (classrooms) are better than others built by other people... and I don’t see Kenyans happy about it. It’s very strange,” said the CS.

He is concerned that whoever succeeds him may not sustain and improve his achievements.

“I urge Kenyans not to slide back irrespective of what happens. For the incoming administration, whichever it is, no condition is permanent, but for our children, being in school is going to be permanent,” he said.

Some 831,015 candidates are sitting the 2021 KCSE examinations, which will run up to April 1. The candidates were registered in 10,413 centres, compared to 752,981 students at 10,437 centres in 2020.

Magoha cautioned candidates against cheating and urged to shun individuals and teachers purporting to leak examinations. “We will be soft with the students and allow them to take exams, but any teacher who thinks they’re brave enough to open the exams, particularly the second paper, should know that we shall know where you have done it and we shall come for you,” he said.

Meanwhile, two candidates were caught with mobiles phones in Nairobi on the first day of the national tests.