By Wangari Njuguna and Kirera Mwiti
Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha yesterday raised the red flag over cases of cheating in the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam and issued a stern warning to secondary school principals against such acts.
Magoha made particular reference to a ‘popular’ school in Western Kenya, which is currently being closely monitored for attempting to cheat.
“Very sadly indeed, we are monitoring a school somewhere in Western, it is a popular school. It has been doing very well, where the Principal has already moved teachers out of the compound and is getting the experts to come and do the exam for the children and smuggle the exams back to the classroom,” said Magoha, when he monitored the start of Day 2 of the Form Four exam in Murang’a county.
“Let this serve as a warning to that principal, he should actually be ashamed of himself. It is a very good school, the children have always done well and there is no reason why he tried to do that type of thing,” Magoha observed.
He said education officials have been dispatched to all examination centres to monitor other hot spots like Migori, warning that teachers intent on bending rules would be humiliated.
“For teachers bent on causing problems, we may have to go public and deal with them during the examination process if they do not stop the nonsense they are doing,” warned Magoha.
Even before the students could begin to write their KCSE exam, Magoha had already warned that Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) had flagged some 30 centres.
“I wish to warn that some centres have been flagged after KNEC received reports of their plans to cheat. It should be known that 30 such centres countrywide are under our careful watch over their plans to engage in malpractices.
“Our monitors will be vigilant and any centre found to be engaging in unethical practices will face stern action,” the CS had said last week.
Magoha reiterated that KCSE is a national exam and all schools will have to play by the rules set to the letter.
Some 752,981 candidates began their KCSE exams on Friday in 10,437 centres across the country.
No private transport
Magoha, who also toured Murang’a High School to assess the exam, also said no school will be allowed to use private means to transport the exams pointing out that there are enough government vehicles to facilitate the process.
“There were calls from some private schools asking if the can ferry exams via private means but this will not be allowed” he said.
He also maintained that no officer will be allowed to carry mobile phones to exam room but they will be allowed to use them during break time.
He also said the ministry is working closely with international schools which are administering certified exams to their students to ensure no hiccups are reported.
He, however, said end of term exams for these schools should not be a reason to keep children in school, directing that they should also stay at home until other directives are issued.
“End of term exams are not certified and only candidates in these schools should remain,” he said.
At the same time, the CS said that marking of Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) scripts is well on course and will be completed as the Ministry anticipates.
“We are marking the scripts… we are at about 35 percent and we are organising to manually mark Insha and Composition which will start during the course of the week.
“The progress is well and we should be able to complete as we scheduled,” he assured.
In Naivasha, KNEC Chairman Dr John Onsati admitted that the Covid-19 pandemic has posed a threat to national examinations but assured that the government heightened Covid-19 measures in secondary schools to protect candidates.
Supervising distribution of exams materials in Naivasha, John Onsati said that they were not taking chances and that all exam managers are directed to ensure that all health standards are followed to the letter.