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CS Machogu takes teachers to task on 'ghost candidates'

 PS Belio Kipsang chats with Education CS Ezekiel Machogu after he announced the 2023 KCSE results at the Moi Girls Kabarak on Jan 8, 2024. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

It has emerged that school heads could be inflating candidate numbers to have their institutions registered as examination centres.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu hinted that some head teachers were registering "ghost candidates" for national examinations.

This follows the revelation that some 3,685 candidates who had registered for the 2023 KCSE did not sit the exam.

“I am concerned with the number that failed to sit the examination as it would point to a situation where some schools could be inflating the figures to meet the minimum threshold of 30 candidates required to be enlisted as an examination centre,” Machogu said.

Machogu spoke at Moi Girls Schools in Eldoret during the release of the 2023 KCSE examinations.

He instructed the Directorate of Quality Assurance to work with the Kenya National Examinations Council to establish the whereabouts of the 3,685 "missing" candidates.

But the issue of ‘ghost candidates’ is not unique to KCSE.

Similar concerns were raised during the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam, where 9,354 students registered but did not sit the exam.

Although there could be other reasons for the candidates going "missing", Machogu warned that misrepresentation of figures could mean wastage of public funds since the government pays examination fees for candidates based on the data submitted by schools. 

During the release of the KCPE exams, Machogu indicated that 1,415,325 pupils were registered for the exam but only 1,406,557 sat the exam.

In an effort to curb "ghost candidates", Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang on Monday announced that this year KCSE registration will be done based on the data in the National Education Management Information System.

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