Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi has said five national schools had candidates who were involved in irregularities during the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations.
While releasing the KCSE results on Tuesday, Mr Kaimenyi said 2,975 candidates committed exam irregularities countrywide.
However, the number was a significant drop from 3,812 candidates whose 2013 KCSE results were cancelled.
He said 209 students were caught with unauthorised materials, 179 were found with mobile phones in the examination rooms while 20 impersonated candidates.
“County schools followed by sub county schools had the highest number of cheats,” said Prof Kaimenyi when releasing the results at Mitihani House in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Without disclosing the schools, he said it was disappointing that five national schools, despite admitting top students, were involved in examination irregularities.
“I wonder why a national school would admit the cream of the performers and still cheat. If the cream of the nation can cheat, what will the rest do?”
He said vice has been worsened by the fact that school principals and headteachers were “at the forefront of perpetuating exam cheating”.
The CS expressed disappointment that teachers, instead of being role models, were instructing the children left under their care how to cheat.
“These students will live with this dishonesty, they will never trust seniors, their self-esteem is affected even if they score top grades,” said Prof Kaimenyi.
According to the Kenyan National Examination Council, the most frequent method of cheating was collusion.
A total of 2,410 candidates' results were cancelled as a result of cheating.
Some candidates defied the ban on mobile phones and were caught with the gadgets in examination rooms, contributing greatly to the high number of irregularities.
Examination officials collected 179 mobile phones from examination rooms, clear evidence that students had defied the Knec order.
Others, the CS said, still managed to smuggle prepared notes into examination rooms.
According to last year’s KCSE statistics, only seven counties did not record even a single case of cheating. They were Taita Taveta, Tana River, Lamu, Nyandarua, Marsabit, Siaya and Nyamira.
This is second year in a row that Lamu and Taita Taveta counties have not had any exam irregularities.
The number of examination centres that recorded cases of cheating also reduced from from 2.6 per cent to 2.2 percent.
“While this is lauded, we should be vigilant to ensure that the number of candidates cheating in exams drops to zero,” said Prof Kaimenyi.
The CS said the overall performance for 2014 candidates improved compared with the 2013 results.
A total of 3,073 candidates scored A in 2014 compared with 2,722 in 2013.
The CS said 149,717 candidates scored C+ and above.