There has been a constant upsurge of cheating cases, especially during KCSE national examinations.
In the recently released KCSE results, average schools took over the top 100 schools list nationally, crashing the academic giants.
This unprecedented shift in the academic curve during KCSE examinations did raise an eyebrow with the CS Education Ezekiel Machogu being on the receiving end. This led to a thorough probe aimed at unearthing the cartels behind the syndicate.
Knec Officials in Trouble over KCSE Malpractice
Following the recently concluded investigations, Education stakeholders in Embu County now want a total overhaul of the form four examination management systems to eradicate widespread cheating.
The stakeholders also demanded for a system through which Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) operations could be audited through an independent organization to avoid the present situation in which it is both “player and referee”.
Under the current arrangement, KNEC sets, stores, distributes, administers, marks, appraises and safeguards examinations.
Petitions for remarking and arbitrating on cheating as well as cancellation or retention of results in case of anomalies have all gone on under KNEC’s unchallenged authority and prerogative for years despite emerging issues of integrity.
In separate and independent presentations to Julius Melly, who chairs Education Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into the 2022 KCSE examination cheating, almost all agreed that there was a widespread anomaly in the 2022 KCSE.
It was observed that sudden improvements in mean scores should have been the first red flag, even as exam leakages seemed to have happened months before candidates tackled them.
Most examiners expressed shock at the fact that candidates from some schools appeared to reproduce marking schemes in a word-for-word form, clearly pointing to the fact that some of them had accessed the marking schemes at some point.
John Njoka, an academic from Runyenjes, stressed the need for KNEC to seal all loopholes and expressed fears that if some officers from the examination body could be compromised to trade marking schemes, it was apparent that interference could also happen during the keying in of the marks.
With the examinations done in March and December, Njoka wondered how some schools could end up performing so well in the latest examinations as compared to those done in the month of March.
Despite the availability of mechanisms to report cheating, most of the examiners felt intimidated as insinuations ran high that reporting such matters could derail the marking process, or affect the examiner’s income, and perhaps future selection as a marker.
It emerged that even when candidates evidently appeared to reproduce marking schemes, little could be done because KNEC remained the custodian of the schemes.
Graders, it was suggested, needed to be empowered legally to have secure and confidential systems of reporting any leakages; otherwise many would feel being overly vigilant could easily put their work on the line.
It was felt that the government had the capacity to detect trends of cheating, especially through monitoring the results of schools headed by particular principals and comparing them to those of their new stations.
“The government can detect and confirm cheating by studying result trends of principals suspected to have a history of cheating vis-à-vis results of new schools they head, especially after delocalization,” one contributor suggested.
The assumption that there were some superstars in improving examination results is a dangerous malady as it prejudices other schools, it was suggested.
Some principals also linked leakage and other examination malpractices to the change of education Cabinet secretaries just before the examination started, which they termed as disruptive with the transition creating a lull and confusion; a fertile ground for cheating.