The extent to which the ongoing national exams have been compromised became evident on Wednesday as it emerged that some of the exam papers were being sold hours before they were administered.
The Kenya National Examinations Council, however, said the questions were not genuine but acknowledged that five teachers had been arrested for sharing Chemistry and Biology exam materials in advance.
Knec boss Joseph Kivilu also said that several university students had been arrested with fake examination papers.
The Nation has learnt that unscrupulous people were using mobile phones to send questions to buyers a day before the exams are administered.
Yesterday, the Nation bought questions for the Mathematics paper, which the seller said will be administered this morning.
The questions were sold for Sh1,000.
Dr Kivilu said a group of university students and some teachers had been arrested with examination papers. However, he said the decision was taken to protect the integrity of the national exam. According to him, the papers seized were not genuine.
At least 30 handsets have also been seized from Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination candidates in various schools. The candidates were given the phones by parents and guardians who attended prayers in schools just before the exams started early this month.
“We urge principals of schools to remain vigilant and ensure that no examination malpractice takes place in their schools,” Dr Kivilu said at a press conference in Nairobi yesterday.
Dr Kivilu disclosed that among those arrested so far are a director of a private school and two teachers, who had instruction materials for the Chemistry paper. The three he said have since been charged in court. All were arrested in Kiambu County.
Two other teachers were arrested in Nairobi County in possession of an extract of Biology practical paper while in Chuka, Tharaka-Nithi County, a 35-year-old male candidate was arrested and charged.
Dr Kivilu further disclosed that four students from Kenyatta University and one from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology were also arrested while trying to send papers to various candidates. They are in police custody.
“We will be picking up the matter with their universities since we believe they are engaged in exam cheating even at the university,” said Dr Kivilu.
“The council is aware that fraudsters are lurking around engaging in various fraudulent activities such as printing, circulating and selling fake examination papers fully branded with Knec information purported to be genuine examination papers,” he added.
The Knec boss also warned that the fraudsters were circulating messages on social media platforms, including through SMS and WhatsApp.
“The council is assuring all the candidates that we are doing all we can to ensure that the examination is not compromised. They should ignore any rumour of a leaked examination paper and concentrate on their preparation for the examinations,” he said.
As a rule, schools and candidates found guilty of abetting cheating usually have their results nullified.
In the National Assembly, MPs raised concern over rising cases of leaks. The issue was raised by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, who said the matter was urgent and required drastic action outside of the regular procedures that required the Education Committee to investigate the matter and give a report to the House.
“I have been before the Education Committee, but I feel this matter is of grave national concern and the House needs to make a decision urgently because the examinations are ongoing,” he said.
Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen also said the matter was of national importance and the House should adjourn to discuss it substantively.
However, temporary speaker Moses Cheboi asked the two lawmakers to introduce the matter formally in the House because a statement or a motion of adjournment was required before the matter could be debated.
Mr Cheboi, also the Kuresoi North MP, stopped debate on the issue despite huge interest shown by MPs, saying it needed to be introduced in the House for debate.