More than 485,547 candidates are set to start their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination on Tuesday against the backdrop of alleged leakages, with concerns that there are examination papers in circulation in parts of the country, believed to be those that candidates will sit.
The Sunday Nation has established that there are leaked examination papers being offered for sale to students and parents, this despite the arrest and charging of a Kenyatta University student, Douglas Nyakamu Ongoro, on Thursday.
Mr Ongoro was found to have been in possession of English Paper 2, Kiswahili Paper 2, Chemistry Paper 2 and History and Government Paper 2, all for year 2014, which he was selling for between Sh50,000 and Sh200,000 a set.
Yesterday, acting Knec CEO Dr Joseph Kivilu asked parents and candidates to ignore people who are claiming that they have examination papers, saying that they are not genuine.
Dr Kivilu identified university and college students as being major players in the leakage of examinations, and sought to assure education stake holders that the council has taken all necessary steps to ensure the credibility of examinations.
The examinations boss has warned that stern action will be taken against those who engage in irregularities, adding that the council has barred candidates sitting for this year’s national examination from using clipboards in the examination as has been the tradition.
It has also emerged that more than 70 students will miss the exam this year after various school heads failed to clear their registration fee arrears by Friday.
In August this year, the Kenya National Union of Teachers wrote to Education Cabinet Secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi to institute investigations into allegations that there was leakage of the 2014 national examination.
Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion, in the letter, had alleged that the union had received anonymous allegations that there was preparations to leak 2014 KCPE and KCSE examinations.
“The contents of the letter, though not signed, are very disturbing and are a recipe for chaos in the examination management,” said Mr Sossion in the letter dated August 25.
“We urge you to investigate these allegations to a logical conclusion before the start of the 2014 national examinations,” Mr Sossion had said.
The letter claimed that there are plans to leak the exams, explaining that the leakages are facilitated by senior officers at the council, who are never punished because they are “well connected”.
It also claimed that some school heads normally pay to get such leakages and protection, and alleged that investigations in 2013 examination leakage were shoddily done and implicated innocent officers while the real culprits got away scot free.
Prof Kaimenyi, in his reply to the union, assured it that the ministry would carry out its investigations and appoint a substantive Knec boss.
The immediate Chief executive officer Paul Wasanga left in June and Dr Kivilu is in an acting capacity.
Knec has also announced that some centres in Garissa, Kisii, Oyugis, Nyamira, Rongo and Eastleigh, in Nairobi, had been identified as cheating hot-spots.
Dr Kivilu said the examination will be administered in 8,211 centres that will be served by 828 distribution points.
Yesterday, the council started the distribution of papers to various counties except in Nairobi and Mombasa.
“The dispatch of the examination papers and other examination materials to the over 1,000 distribution centres across the country will be carried out weekly. These centres are mainly police armories and chief’s camps,” said Dr Kivilu.
He said the examination will be examined in 31 subjects using 74 papers and candidates will be required to sit for a minimum of seven and maximum of nine subjects as per the clustering of subject criteria specified in awarding rules and regulations.
“We have 52,997 contracted professionals who will manage this exam,” he told the Sunday Nation yesterday.
Dr Kivilu added that 14,936 security officers, 8,188 supervisors, 27,874 invigilators and 1,999 drivers will be involved in the exercise.
Dr Kivilu assured candidates in areas that are prone to security challenges saying that the council and the government had made arrangements to enable them sit for their examination without any fear.
“We have already sensitised and briefed those involved on the procedures of managing examinations. We have had meetings with top security officials from the office of the Inspectors-General, regional police officers, National intelligence Services and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations,” said Dr Kivilu.
He assured the candidates that all measures have been put in place to ensure that they sit the examination in a conducive environment, and that will not be compromised.
Dr Kivilu further said that monitoring of the examination will be done by officers from KNEC, Education ministry, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development and Teachers Service Commission among other stake holders.
Meanwhile, Knut chairman Mudzo Nzili yesterday said that the union does not intend to disrupt the examination by calling for a strike.
“We are still discussing with the government and therefore our members should continue to offer their service to students until we advise them otherwise,” said Mr Nzili.
However, he asked the government to take serious the negotiations saying that it has to bring something to the table.
Mr Nzili also wished candidates well and called on Knec to ensure smooth running of the examination.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) chairman Omboko Milemba said the union is optimistic that the government will table an offer by October 23 to avoid any disruptions.