St Theresa deregistered as ministry flexes muscles

Monday November 13 2017

EXAM malpractice

An Administration Police officer helps a school principal carry KCSE examination papers at Gilgil Sub-County offices in Nakuru on November 13, 2017. Education Cabinet Secretary said that strict management of the examinations had curbed leakage. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The Ministry of Education on Monday turned its focus on schools that recorded examination irregularities, with a private institution in Nakuru becoming the first victim of the tough rules.

St Theresa Girls Senior School was deregistered because exam materials were twice opened before the stipulated time.

The decision was communicated to the school by Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang moments after Teachers Service Commission chief executive Nancy Macharia visited it.

The deregistration takes effect on December 1. However, it does not affect the 37 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination candidates.

The ministry indicated that it would help find alternative schools for the 115 students in other classes.

Kenya National Examinations Council officials said the principal opened the materials earlier than the stipulated time in order to share the questions with students.

Teachers were also found coaching candidates at the school, against the new rules.

The Nation also learnt from ministry sources that teachers were found at the centre during examination hours.

The offences were reportedly committed between November 9 and 10.

It has also been established that some of the tutors were not registered with TSC.

The letter was addressed to the principal and copied to Education minister Fred Matiang’i and Nakuru County education director.

“By copy of this letter, you are instructed to hand over the certificate of your school to the County Education Board secretary ... with immediate effect,” the PS said, instructing the head teacher to inform parents of the decision.

Earlier, TSC issued a warning to principals and supervisors opening examination papers before the stipulated time.

While supervising the distribution of materials to examination centres in Gilgil, Ms Macharia said those linked to exam malpractices would be dismissed and prosecuted.

“Action will be taken against teachers abetting cheating. The examination materials must be guarded properly. Nobody should ruin the lives of candidates,” she said.

She supervised the opening of an exam container at Gilgil deputy county commissioner’s office in the company of Rift Valley Education Officer Mary Gaturu.

Ms Macharia came face to face with a principal who appeared and acted drunk.

Mr Christopher Maisiba, the head teacher of Mawaka Secondary School, did not seem worried as he answered questions from Ms Macharia.

“How do you manage the examination in your school with this kind of behaviour?” Ms Macharia asked.

“I am not drunk as my colleagues are saying. I only woke up late and came hurriedly to pick the test papers,” Mr Maisiba answered.

Angered by the teacher’s antics, Nakuru County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha ordered his immediate arrest.

Another examination centre manager was given the materials to take to the school on the outskirts of Gilgil town.

Dr Matiang’i toured Our Lady of Mercy Girls School in Shauri Moyo and Aga Khan High School in Nairobi where malpractices by students were reported last week.

Two students are facing charges over the incidents.

Aga Khan Deputy Principal Carol Nyagah and National Curriculum Coordinator Selah Ndiwa found four mobile phones in the boys’ toilet, presumably meant to assist in cheating.

The discovery was on Thursday morning.

The two reported the matter to the head teacher.

Dr Matiang’i said three candidates were disqualified from the examination.

“The government will not tolerate any individual or institution that makes attempts to interfere with the credibility of national examinations,” the minister said.

He added that the ministry and TSC would take disciplinary action against centre managers or officials involved in any malpractice.

Two invigilators at the same institution were dismissed from the examination for arriving late.

They were promptly replaced.

The minister added that strict management of the examinations had curbed leakage.

“Attempts to open examinations scripts were nipped in the bud and action taken against the offenders,” Dr Matiang’i said.

The minister asked candidates to take individual responsibility while sitting for the examinations.

Dr Matiang’i said other government agencies had helped deal with challenges occasioned by the ongoing heavy rains.

He added that security agencies airlifted examination materials in northern and northeast Kenya where heavy rains destroyed roads.

Meanwhile, Dr Kipsang witnessed the opening of the examination materials at Senior Chief Koinange High School in Kikuyu Sub-County, Kiambu, on Monday.

In Siaya, Knec chairman George Magoha issued a warning to teachers and other groups attempting to leak the examinations, saying they would be severely punished.

Prof Magoha said a few centre managers and teachers had been opening the examination papers early with the purpose of exposing the questions to candidates.

“We have the capacity to know where the paper is meant to be. If you try sending questions to Mandera, we will know the origin,” Prof Magoha said.

He was speaking at Sawagongo High School where Mr Jerry Ndikolo, a teacher, was arrested last week and arraigned for leaking chemistry questions.

In Homa Bay, candidates at Gendia Boys High School destroyed their dormitory “because the examination was not being leaked”.

Witnesses said the boys went on the rampage on Sunday night over being stopped from cheating in the examinations.

The students smashed windows of some of their dormitories as they accused their teachers of doing little to help them cheat.

Reported by Ouma Wanzala, Caroline Wafula, Eric Matara, Rushdie Oudia and Barrack Oduor