Corruption at the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) is to blame for the high number of cases of exam irregularities in Meru County, leaders now claim.
The county was ranked third, behind Makueni and Nairobi, among counties with the highest number of cheating cases in the 2015 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).
In the 2013 KCSE examinations, Meru had the highest number of candidates involved in irregularities, with 471 candidates at 15 centres found to have cheated.
In 2015, the county had the second-highest number of candidates (218) whose results were cancelled for cheating, after Busia’s 261.
Speaking at his office on Thursday, Meru School Principal Silas Mwirigi called the report unfortunate and asked the exam body to rein in examination leakages.
“It is very sad that Meru is among the top cheating counties in the country. The Knec is to blame for the irregularities. The buck stops with the council, which should ensure the exam is tightly secured,” Dr Mwirigi said.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Nyambene branch secretary-general Julius Taitumu said the exams council had lost credibility in managing examinations.
“As long as examination papers can be accessed by students and other outsiders, cheating cannot be tamed. Knec should carry their cross. The chairman of the council should also resign because he has failed to contain the vice,” Mr Taitumu said.
He blamed the increasing appetite for cheating on an education system that favours good grades while those who get lower grades miss out on opportunities.
Meru County director of education Willie Machocho had earlier stated that his office would punish teachers involved in exam irregularities.
Mr Machocho said his office had completed investigations on seven schools involved in the vice and had directed the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to take action against the teachers.
“We are very serious about ending the vice in Meru. School heads and teachers found to have been involved in cheating will serve as an example to others,” Mr Machocho said.