The changing tactics in examination cheating should give the authorities renewed impetus to intensify security checks at the centres.
They have to change strategy faster than those planning to cheat in the tests. When the first week of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education ended on Friday scores of exam cheats had been nabbed in various centres, with some taken to court to answer to criminal offences.
What is alarming is that some people are obsessed with exam cheating. They are so audacious and brazen that they take risks without care.
Three cases were particularly startling. First, 11 suspects were arrested in Kisii County and charged for impersonation. The fellows, among them university students and unemployed trained teachers, went to write exams for others at a centre for private candidates, defying the security checks only to be caught by a discerning officer who saw through their tricks.
Second, was the case of teachers at a school in Migori County who masquerading as cooks, attempted to facilitate cheating; getting question papers, working out answers and passing to candidates in the toilets.
In Wajir, a teacher shamelessly worked out answers of a practical subject and put answers on the chalkboard.
Methods of cheating are changing and the conspicuous thing is that the perpetrators are so daring that they are not bothered by the strict monitoring.
In the past, cheating involved selling exam papers in advance to schools, learners or parents.
The papers were then used for revision and drilling candidates to get high grades. Besides, some schools and parents colluded with crooked officials at the Kenya National Examination Council to change and raise candidates’ grades after marking at a fee.
This is what brought those dubious ‘As” that made our exams a laughing stock. Those tricks have since been curtailed with the stringent rules enforced since 2016. And this has helped to restore confidence in national examinations.
Our concern is this obsession with exam cheating. It seems some people can never do a decent thing. They lead a life of lies, cheating their way through systems and without any shame. Enforcing strict monitoring is an imperative.
We implore the candidates to take personal responsibility for their studies. Never should they allow themselves to be enticed to cheat.
There is dignity in getting honest grades. And it is not a must that one has to pass all subjects with flying colours. Obsession with top grades is dangerous. Learners should learn to do an honest job and get satisfied with what they legitimately obtain.
Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha and his team of technocrats have done a good job so far. But challenges remain. They have to change tact and intensify monitoring to eliminate cheating in all its manifestations.