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State mulls scrapping of private examination centres

By Bernard Gitau
Friday, November 8th, 2019
Education CS George Magoha (standing, centre) and other officials monitor KCSE exams at Centre Loice Secondary School in Kisii county. PD/Robert Ochoro

The Ministry of Education may review the decision to allow private examination centres after it emerged that they have become a haven for exam malpractices.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha expressed concern that in one private centre in Nairobi, out of 153 candidates, a total of 35 phones were confiscated.

The gadgets were confiscated at St Teresa’s private centre in Nairobi.

“We are also going to scrutinise the concept of allowing private centres some very tiny scattered across the country and they end up performing better than public schools perhaps because we have not put emphasis on scrutinising their activities,” he said.

He was speaking after supervising examinations at St Georges Girls Secondary School in Nairobi.

“There is a large number of private candidates who just want good grades to go somewhere else and are going to extra miles to cheat,” he said.

Magoha also expressed concern over examination centres with just one group of people/tribe in a cosmopolitan city like Nairobi

“Every school must be an equal opportunity to all Kenyans. We are going to make stern action against centres with individuals speaking one language/ specific religion,” he said.

Yesterday marked the fifth day since 2019 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) Examination started.

A total of 699,746 started the examination on Monday with Magoha revealing that Kisii, Garissa, Nairobi and Wajir as hotspots in examination cheating.

“As a Ministry, we are proud of how the examinations have so far progressed. In 99.9 per cent of the centres, examination officials have meticulously enforced the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) regulations that are meant to ensure delivery of a credible examination,” he said.

Magoha though indicated that much as they celebrate the near end to the traditional forms of cheating, they are also disappointed that some unscrupulous people, mainly in private centres, are going to great heights to invent new tricks meant to beat our formidable measures.

“Eleven people were arrested in Kisii in connection with the production of a fake candidates photo identification album mimicking that of the KNEC roll,” he said.

He pointed that after the arrest of the 11 impersonators, the centre saw another 22 vanish the following day from the examination centre.

So far, Magoha said they have already collected more than 50 mobile phone handsets from various examination centres across the country.

Some 35 of these were collected at the St Teresa’s private centre in Nairobi where 26 people were also arrested.

Seven were collected from Diffu and Tawakal centres in Garissa.

The gadgets were meant to relay “answers” to examination rooms, a strategy that could not work thanks to the watchful examination officials.

At least 10 examination officials were replaced in various centres over their participation in overt or covert decisions that endangered the security of the KCSE examination.

“Some of these officials allowed unauthorised people to access examination centres while others agreed to receive bribes arising from funds raised to aid cheating. These officials accept as high figures as Sh120,000 to play ball in the cheating,” he said.

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