Crack down hard on exam cheating
Clearly, the Kenya National Examination Council, and the Ministry of Education, are not doing enough to curb cheating in the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.
The net effect of this failure is that it risks compromising the quality of the examination internationally and is likely to blot the class of 2023 unless drastic measures are taken.
It is inexplicable that answers for an exam that has not been administered can be available on social media platforms hours before candidates sit the paper. This leaves a great deal to be desired about the integrity of the examination officials and the government personnel entrusted with handling the papers.
The problem with leaks is that they give schools, candidates and regions undue advantage in an environment where exams are used to determine the destinies of candidates. Leaks give undeserving candidates the unearned opportunity to be selected for university placement at the expense of their more deserving counterparts.
In the medium term, this affects retention rates in the universities when those who were favoured start dropping out in the Second or Third Year of their studies because they lack the mental and intellectual fortitude to master the courses they were selected for.
That is why the examination council must act tough on cheats, to send the unequivocal message that those who skew the system to reward corruption will be dealt with in line with the law and in a manner that will make them serve as a deterrent to others of like mind.
Education is the last bastion of reducing inequality of opportunity in Kenya, indeed in developing countries. As such, when a few breach the protocols to benefit themselves and their children at the expense of the poor majority, it not only undermines the credibility of the exam and the administering authority but also changes social and economic dynamics that consign bright but need learners to unjustifiable penury. That is why it must be fought vigorously and rules to enforce compliance enforced robustly.
In that vein, teachers who abet cheating must also be dealt with decisively because they undermine social morality and make a mockery of national ethos, such as integrity and fairness. Their malpractices must, therefore, not only be dealt with swiftly but also seen to be punished.