Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Amina Mohamed has defended the heavy deployment of police officers to schools during national examinations, saying the idea is not to intimidate students.
The officers' task is to ensure safety and integrity, she said on Tuesday, on the presence of at least 3,000 of them at schools across the country. They are from the regular and Administration Police units.
“We’ve put arrangements in place to ensure learners are not distracted by the presence of the officers. They are there to assure them of safety," she said at Hill School in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.
She toured several school to check the progress of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary School Education (KCSE) tests.
Dr Amina reported that four students - three from Garissa and one from Nairobi - were deregistered for cheating. She also said that so far, 15 people have been arrested and arraigned for allegedly photocopying exams and sneaking the answers to candidates.
The CS pointed the finger at adults, saying they help students cheat.
“No other incident has been reported. We’ve not found students who go out intentionally to pick materials. Most of the work is done by adults who corrupt the young people to do the wrong things. These are the people we are going to deal with," she said.
“We want to ensure this exam continues uninterrupted. We are arresting and prosecuting the culprits really fast. Everybody should be supportive as this is our country."
The minister, who was with county Education director Dr Nicodemus Anyang’, warned invigilators against malpractices, saying they are under close scrutiny.
“The issue of phones in exam rooms has been critical in the last few days but we are determined to stamp out the vice," she said.
The Education ministry has announced new measures aimed at eliminating exam malpractices.
They include the strategic placement of security officers - in full view of examination materials. They also aren't supposed to take breaks during the examinations.
Exam centre managers have also been ordered not to allow unauthorised teachers and other persons into schools.