The government will re-evaluate the concept and administration of national examinations to privately registered candidates and private schools after most incidents of malpractices were reported among them in the first week of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said that the cheating incidents that have so far been reported are concentrated in the areas which had been flagged off as cheating hotspots prior to the commencement of the examinations. He decried the evolution of cheating methods, which have posed greater challenges to examination officials.
“There are still a few challenges. The (cheating) cartels have gone a step further,” he said, while briefing the media on the progress of the examinations at St George’s Girls Secondary School in Nairobi on Friday.
Prof Magoha said daring cases of impersonation had increased, with Inter-City Academy, Ramasha Centre in Bomachoge Chache Constituency, Kisii County being the main culprit.
Some 11 people were arrested at the school on Tuesday. The centre has 103 registered candidates but after the arrest of the fake candidates, only 70 candidates have been turning up for their examinations at the centre.
“The issue of leakage is gone but there is a metamorphosis of other forms of cheating,” the Education CS said.
In the Kisii case, the imposters had replaced photos of the genuine candidates with their own to make detection difficult. Some of them, Prof Magoha said, were university students.
And 26 people were arrested at St Teresa’s private examination centre in Nairobi and 35 mobile phones confiscated. The centre has 153 candidates. The arrested were suspected of using mobile phones, some concealed in their private parts, to receive answers from an unknown source.
Over 50 mobile phones have been impounded across the country. Seven of those were impounded from Diffu and Tawakal centres in Garissa County.
“You need to be a very aggressive person to identify that phone,” Prof Magoha said, adding that the phones had been forwarded to the authorities for further investigation.
The concealed phones at St Teresa’s were identified by the area chief, who was at the centre as part of the multi-agency team monitoring the examinations.
“I’ll intercede for her to be considered for recognition or promotion,” the Education CS said while also commending the two police constables who busted the cheating syndicate in Kisii.
He promised to request the President to promote the two, on merit, for their diligence and honesty.
Wajir, also flagged as a cheating hotspot, has also reported examination irregularities. On Friday, the CS said, there was a case where a teacher wrote the answers for the Chemistry practical paper on the blackboard.
At one centre in the North Rift, the centre manager gave two security officers alcohol while on duty.
The CS said some teachers were found working out answers to questions that were sneaked out of examination centres before strategically posting them in toilets. Candidates would then pick up the answers from the toilets.