287 exam results cancelled over cheating

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021 00:00 |
Knec chairman John Onsati (second right) hands over a copy of the 2020 KCSE exam results to Education CS George Magoha (left). Looking on are Basic Education PS Julius Jwan and Knec chief executive Mercy Karogo at Mitihani House in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Cases of cheating in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam decreased from 1,309 in 2019 to 287 in the 2020 results released yesterday.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said this was because of years of sustained and relentless campaign to fight the menace. 

There has been a steady decrease in such cases, according to the ministry. In 2019, Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) cancelled results for 1,309 candidates for cheating while the previous year, results of 4,519 candidates were also withheld pending investigations.

The 287 cases cancelled yesterday were classified as  unauthorised materials (211), mobile phones (45), impersonation (1), collusion (29) and double script (1).

Magoha said in cases where impersonation and collusion were detected and confirmed, action was taken.

“We are, therefore, not cancelling exams for any centre, other than individual candidates of certain centres, where we established beyond doubt they were involved in irregularities.”

Leaking eradicated

The minister also said the ministry has completely eradicated leaking of exams, adding that since 2016, they had not recorded a single case of leaked exam papers.

“Our decision to employ a robust security-led system of delivering examinations directly to the (examination) containers before dispatching them to various centres has been fool proof,” he said.

Among the challenges identified was early exposure of the exam papers to candidates where some unprofessional officials open the papers minutes before the exam start time, give the questions to teachers, who in turn share them with the targeted candidates before exams start.

“Thanks to our strong security system, most of these cases, some of which resulted in some suspect social media posts, were pre-empted and culprits arrested.

We ensured that the stolen examination questions did not reach the intended recipients,” the CS said, adding that some criminals were unaware the security systems had the ability to detect the exact location of opening the exam papers and even the identity of the mobile phones used to relay the questions.

The government has put in place measures to ensure smooth operations in the national exams. 

A total of 752,981 candidates sat the exams between March 8 and April 21 in 28,437 centres in the first exams to be administered at a different time other than November-December.

In Migori, for example, an invigilator was arrested for sharing material before exam time.

More than 100 teachers have faced disciplinary action over early exposure in the last four years and have been barred from overseeing future tests.

According to the Teachers Service Commission chief executive Nancy Macharia, a number of cases of teachers — contracted either as centre managers, supervisors or invigilators — involved in an unethical behaviour of opening exam papers as soon as they are released from the containers, were reported to Knec.

She said such teachers would screenshot exam questions using cell phones before disseminating them either to candidates directly or to people hired to answer the questions on behalf of the candidates.

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