Magoha links principals to exam cheating

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022 03:00 | By
Education CS George Magoha supervises exam distribution at Vihiga Central container. PHOTO/Courtesy

Secondary school principals are on the spot following new revelations they were inflating the number of candidates, to facilitate cheating in national exams.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha yesterday claimed unscrupulous school heads deliberately inflate the number of candidates with the aim of facilitating cheating by being issued with extra exam scripts.

The excess scripts are then passed on to students and others involved in the vice.

Magoha, however, assured that the ministry is in control   of the situation and it is now difficult for schools to cheat in exams by inflating the number of candidates at the registration stage.

Missing candidates

“Schools have been using missing candidates’ narrative to cheat in exams. We have some schools, which used to register ghost candidates so that they can get extra exam papers and use them to leak the examination… We know the tricks and the ministry has discovered that and arrested the situation,” said Magoha, who supervised the opening of examination containers in Vihiga County yesterday.

The CS claimed the school principals, after receiving extra exam papers, made photocopies and circulated the exams ahead of the sitting time.

He said the ministry had noted a trend where some schools have been reporting high numbers of “missing” candidates, prompting the ministry to initiate investigations.

Magoha said the ministry was able to trace some of the “missing” candidates with the help of chiefs and their assistants to ensure any candidate registered to sit exams is reached.

“For genuine cases of absentee candidates, we have gone even to homes and pleaded with the children to go back and sit the exams,” the CS said.

Yesterday, Magoha sent a stern warning to exam managers against any attempt to abet or leak exams, saying the ministry will deal with them accordingly. He insisted that cellphones are banned from examination centres and warned that those who would break the rule would be dealt with.

Only two phones are allowed in exam centres, one for the centre manager and another for a security officer, for purposes of emergencies and should both be kept in the manager’s office.

Magoha revealed that marking of the Standard Eight examination was in its final stages and results would be announced  any time.

“I will soon start looking for the President, whenever he is ready because we have to discuss the results with him before releasing them to our children,” said the CS.

Elsewhere, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said it would take disciplinary action against teachers who actively engaged in exam malpractices in the ongoing Form Four examination.

TSC Secretary Nancy Macharia said the commission is awaiting a detailed report from the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) profiling details of teachers involved in the malpractice.

Disciplinary action

“Some people have been arraigned in court and for those teachers who are involved, when we get that report fromKnec, we shall take disciplinary action because we can’t allow errant teachers to taint the lives of our children,” said Macharia who spoke after monitoring exams in Kisauni, Mombasa county.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of reports of widespread attempts of cheating in the ongoing KCSE exams with the most recent case reported in Takaungu Secondary School in Kilifi county, where a teacher and a candidate were caught with mobile phones containing exam materials shared via WhatsApp.

Meanwhile, Macharia said that about 229,000 teachers countrywide have been trained on the Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) while 60,000 others will in April be trained to teach Junior Secondary School.

“So far, we have trained 229,000 teachers and we have been doing it progressively as we go into the higher grades, and in April we are going to train 60,000 teachers for the junior secondary so, I can assure the public that the teachers are ready for CBC implementation,” said Macharia.

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