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Go about measures to curb exam cheating cautiously to avoid panic

Tuesday October 22 2019

By TIMOTHY MWIRICHIA
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It’s all systems go for the national examinations at both the primary and secondary school levels.

Both learners and teachers have been putting final touches in preparation for KCPE and KCSE exams, the latter having already kicked off with practicals and theory papers slated for November 4-27.

When Dr Fred Matiang’i was appointed as the Cabinet secretary for Education, he deliberately came up with stringent measures to curb exam cheating, which was hitherto rampant.

The cases of malpractice disappeared but, unfortunately, from last year, the evil culture has slowly started creeping in.

The masterminds of this dishonest culture are back in full swing. Despite the strict enforcement of the relevant policies, the problem persists, depicting the glaring inadequacies of our education system.

We must not allow the culture of exam cheating to resurface.

LIST OF SHAME

The measures taken by the ministry, now under Prof George Magoha, are quintessential. However, they should be applied in the right manner.

The ministry’s move to flag some counties as cheating hotspots will only serve to distract honest learners in the concerned regions.

The hullabaloo is not serving the honest learners the right way. Rumours that their colleagues are likely to be aided unfairly or their centres ‘visited’ by government top officials might cause panic.

This distinction has thrust the named counties in the list of shame. And the blanket accusation, which includes those learners working hard to achieve honest results, is discriminatory.

It is unfair to them and will cast all examinations centres in the areas in a bad light.

CONCERTED EFFORTS

Instead of such generalised accusations, the authorities should be extra-vigilant and employ intelligence to curb the cheating vice.

We must not witness cases where warnings only exist in the media while the culprits are allowed to walk scot-free.

The monitors should silently do thorough investigations and come up with choreographed plans to pursue the rogue centre managers, supervisors and invigilators until they are brought to book.

Their activities must not deter focused learners, only the real culprits should face the full force of the law. To fully stamp out the vice, however, the ministry, school heads, parents and learners must fully collaborate.

We must also end the culture of using school grades as a measure of the learners’ success in life and embrace harmonious growth.

Truth be told, what matters in life is doing your best and achieving your full potential, not getting the highest grade in the school exam.

We must tell our learners that they are not limited by school grades if they have the right spirit to give their all in all endeavours.