Integrity of exam in lenses as 26 held over cheating attempt

Thursday, November 7th, 2019 05:10 |
Education CS George Magoha (standing, centre) and other officials monitor KCSE exams at Centre Loice Secondary School in Kisii county. PD/Robert Ochoro

The credibility of this year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam continued to be tested after 26 people were yesterday arrested over “malpractice attempt” in Nairobi.

The suspects were arrested at St Theresa Primary School, an exam centre hosting private candidates and 35 mobile phones confiscated, in what is considered a malpractice attempt.

In yet another case the whereabouts of about 16 candidates supposed to sit their exam in a Kisii school is unknown after they failed to show up. 

The incident was reported in the same centre in Kisii, where 11 people were arrested on Tuesday over impersonation, in ongoing efforts to break cheating cartels in Nyanza.

It was not immediately clear why the students of Milimani Ramasha Academy failed to show up to sit their exams, but authorities are pursuing them to find out what happened.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha visited the school, which had 35 registered students, and said the government is keen to arrest people involved in exam irregularities across the country.

Closely monitored

The CS inspected the school and decried its deplorable state, saying it was unfit for learning and would be closed once the exercise is concluded. “We have gone round the facility. It looks deplorable and unfit for learning. It is as if we are using our children as guinea pigs,” he said.

He added that about 10 centres have been flagged and are being closely monitored and will be closed once the exam is over. 

Magoha ordered that extra papers, which had been issued be returned to lock out impersonators, even as he urged invigilators to be alert to stem cheating.

He urged parents to desist from colluding with examination officers to abet malpractices in the ongoing exams.

The CS, who monitored the exam in three schools— God First, Ramasha Milimani and Kisii Boys— warned university students against being misused in exam cheating.

He urged centre managers to ensure security officers guard the exam papers at a close range to avoid anomalies.

“Managers who will not allow police officers do their work will be expelled from the centres. Police officers are supposed to guard papers, not centre managers. If centre managers tell them to stay away, those managers will have to go,” Magoha warned. 

In Mwatate, Education Principal Secretary Dr. Belio Kipsang urged parents and teachers to help restore the lost glory in the education sector by instilling values of hard work and honesty among learners as a  permanent solution to examination cheating.

Teach children

“Parents have been the biggest threat to integrity of examinations in Kenya because they contribute money for their sons and daughters to get access to examination papers. This is teaching your children that stealing is normal,” he said.

Kipsang said two people have been arrested over impersonation in the Coast region.

In Eldoret, three Moi Girls High School candidates who had been kicked out over alleged indiscipline were allowed back to sit  their exams.

The student, until yesterday, had been commuting from outside the school since the exams started after the school administration expelled them over indiscipline.

Speaking to the press in Eldoret where they have been putting up, the students denied indiscipline claims and accused the school administration of discriminating them. 

“I was accused of harassing a prefect and now I feel depressed because of being away from school,” said one of the girls, who declined to be named.

Another said she was expelled after bhang was found in her bag.

“I requested for a drug test but the principal could hear none of it. She took me to a police station, accompanied by some teachers and a security guard, where I spent the night,” she said.

When contacted the school principal Christine Chumba declined to comment on the matter and referred People Daily to the County Director of Education.

In Nyamira, a candidate discontinued  sitting her KCSE exam moments after she delivered. Emily Kwamboka, aged 19, from Nyakeore Secondary School developed labour pains and was rushed to Bosiango Health Centre.

Another candidate, Hellen Maiso of Nyaikuro SDA Mixed School developed labour pains and wrote her exams from a private clinic.

Nyamira County Commissioner Amos Mariba said two are among 58 others who were sitting exams while pregnant.

-Reporting by Irene Githinji, Robert Ochoro, Harrison Kivisu, Winstone Chiseremi and Evans Nyakundi

More on Education