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Form Four exam starts smoothly despite glitches 

Tuesday, March 15th, 2022 05:25 | By
Candidates take KCSE examination at Kisumu Boys last year. Over 800,000 candidates are expected to sit the exam from today. PD/File

Incidents of cheating emerged yesterday as the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination got underway.

Despite the ban of mobile phones in exam halls, two students were caught with phones in Nairobi, while impersonation cases were reported in Kisii and Busia.

Separately, one student died at Chilchila Secondary School in Kipkelion West after he collapsed while sitting the examination but the cause of death was not immediately clear.

While monitoring the examination, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha warned cartels, especially teachers who open papers before the official time, of dire consequences.

“Our children are ready to go and they are not guilty; the guilty ones are the parents ... and even more guilty are the teachers, some of whom are just traders and crooks. We dismantled one of their cartels in primary schools, having arrested several of them. In Nairobi, we already had two students with cell phones. We will be soft with them and we will allow them to take their exams,” said Prof Magoha, who supervised the exams in Mombasa.

In Busia, a candidate’s father was arrested at Our Lady of Mercy Secondary School for impersonation. And in Kisii, security officers seized a university student for allegedly impersonating a candidate.

The officers arrested Brian Angwenyi, said to be a Kisii University student, sitting an English paper 1 examination for a student at Kiamabundu Secondary School in Nyaribari Chache.

Magoha said that from 2016 to now, the government has been delivering credible exams and this will not be an exception.

“We have not had any serious incidents. I want to warn any teacher who feels brave enough to open the exam papers beforehand. We shall come for you,” he said.

He added that the government will use 10 helicopters to distribute exams to areas with insecurity problems like Lamu County. According to the CS, areas with special challenges are Turkana, North Eastern, Lamu and Kajiado.

“The government, through a multi-agency team, is in control. We have helicopters on standby to ensure faster distribution of examination papers in areas where there are challenges,” he said.

The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) Chief Executive Officer David Njengere, who supervised the exam in Nairobi, said officials confiscated two phones that are now the subject of investigations.

Should the students be found guilty, their results could be cancelled.

Njengere, however, assured that exam materials in the 483 containers are safe and intact and are escorted by police officers to exam centres. “The second session paper, which has been giving us problems, must be inside the exam room where everyone can see, including the candidates, that nothing wrong is happening,” he said.

The CEO admitted that phones are a challenge, even as he directed that the centre managers must have custody of all phones in every school. “If we observe these things, we will have a seamless time administering this exam,” said Njengere.

In Nakuru, Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Secretary Nancy Macharia said 70,486 teachers will administer the exam as centre managers, supervisors, invigilators and examiners. She said the teachers have been thoroughly vetted.

“We have given out the best teachers to monitor the exams and it is evident that we have made strides in the administration of this exercise. We want to say the examination will be smooth,” said Macharia at the Nakuru Town East Deputy County Commissioner’s office. 

She praised teachers for commitment and professionalism during the heavily congested term and completion of the syllabus, saying it was a major contributor to the education system getting back on track. 

Elsewhere, two candidates in Lamu sat their exams from Mpeketoni district hospital after they gave birth yesterday morning.

Rushed to hospital

Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia said the two — one from Majembeni Secondary School and the other from Coast Khalid Girls Secondary School — experienced labour pains early yesterday and were rushed to the hospital where they gave birth safely.

 “Only two incidents have been reported in Lamu where two candidates gave birth with no complications and later on proceeded to sit their exams from their hospital beds,” said Macharia. He added that security had been beefed up in the terror-prone areas of Lamu, with ongoing aerial surveillance.

It was also a smooth start in the 105 exam centres in Kwale County. Coast TSC staffing officer Wairimu Ngugi, who supervised examination papers distribution at Matuga, said cheating loopholes had been sealed.

“We will take severe action against individuals and institutions that abet exam irregularities and we have asked invigilators and supervisors not to take their cell phones into examination halls,” she said.

Mandera county commissioner Onesmus Kyatha said the government has deployed a helicopter to deliver KCSE papers to far-flung centres on the Kenya-Somalia border. He said the exam is being delivered to Lafey, Arabia, Fino and other remote places bordering Somalia and Ethiopia.

Kyatha assured the public that the government has deployed enough security personnel to all examination centres.

Examination laws state that anyone found guilty of malpractices will be disqualified and prohibited from taking an examination for three years.

In Migori, County Commissioner Mwangi Meru said 12 containers are located in the 10 sub-counties to ensure safety and promptness in distribution.

Security across neighbouring Nyamira County has also been heightened.

Nyamira South Sub-county Deputy County Commissioner Julius Otieno confirmed they have sufficient security to ensure the exam is conducted without hitches. He warned centre managers of dire consequences should they be found tampering with the examination process.

It was also a smooth start in Kisii, with education officers imploring managers to be vigilant and ensure the exercise is conducted well until the end.

Director of Special Needs Education Fredrick Haga urged centre managers, invigilators and supervisors, to avoid sideshows and stick to their roles.

Meanwhile, another candidate from Kakamega is writing her examination at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital where she is being treated for cancer. Kisumu Central Deputy County Commissioner Hussein Alanson Hussein said the student was admitted to the cancer centre last week.

- Reporting by Roy Lumbe, Irene Githinji, Harrison Kivisu, Sophie Njoka, Robert Ochoro and KNA

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