Kuppet turns its guns on Knec over KCSE leakage

Kakamega county KNUT Chairman Patrick Chungani giving his views during National Assembly Education committee public hearing at Masinde Muliro university of science and technology on March22, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) has been put in the spotlight for examination irregularities.

Some parents, teachers, and other stakeholders want the council to be restructured or disbanded to stop the menace.

Speaking to the National Assembly Education Committee, which is probing allegations of cheating in last year’s Form Four examination, they said there was little to celebrate in the good results schools post fearing, that half the time such results were doctored.

“I have been a teacher and even a deputy examiner in Kiswahili. You could notice anomalies in the process of exam marking, and whenever you raised the issue with KNEC, no action was taken. In some cases, you could be victimised, ask any exam maker if in doubt,” said Nelson Majimbo, a retired high school teacher, in Kakamega.

“The so-called top schools are just that by name. Their school heads are always calling the examiners on phone, to adjust their results to maintain their top status at a premium fee.”

He said that the process of filing a complaint against a cheating school or candidates was also tedious as it involved doing a detailed report.
The participants who gathered at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) feared that the illegal “motivation fee” that schools have been demanding from examination classes could in fact, form part of the premium amounts teachers use to “buy’’ good grades.

Harrison Odoto, executive secretary of Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Kakamega and a teacher at a local school claims he was once approached by a KNEC official who told him the heavier he paid, the earlier he could get exam leakage.

Odoto observed that the competitive nature of education in the country pushed teachers into colluding with parents and candidates to cheat.

“One of the factors that are considered during interviews for promotion by the Teachers Service Commission is your school’s mean score especially when you are among the senior teachers in a school, that makes some teachers cheat to get high mean scores as some parents will chase you from a school if the performance is below their expectation,” he said.

Masinde Muliro University Vice Chancellor Solomon Shibairo said cheating boiled down to moral decay in society calling for a paradigm shift in the value system.

“I happened to be in Canada for studies and exam cheating was hardly talked about because society rewarded and cherished integrity. We ought to think of ways of appreciating truth and integrity for us to walk out of the mess,” he said.

The VC added that if exam cheating persisted, universities could even consider doing an entry exam as the credentials of candidates tested by KNEC would be in high doubt.

Nabii Nabwera (MP, Lugari), Jerusha Momanyi (Woman MP Nyamira ), Christine Ombaka (Siaya Woman, MP), Professor Phylis Bartoo (MP, Moiben), and Peter Oreo (MP, Kibra) expressed optimism that their report would bring some sanity in the education sector.

“We have been to Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyamira, and Mombasa and the attitude among the public, especially education stakeholders, has been that of change. They don’t want fraudulent As but genuine grades that show a true reflection of a student and our education system. We shall build on that,” said Momanyi.

And in a session in Machakos, Kuppet Executive Secretary Musembi Katuku, claimed KCSE exam papers were available on various social media platforms long before the opening of containers.