It is not enough for Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu to dismiss the public concerns about the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination. The results posted by some schools, especially in western Kenya, appear suspect and need to be reviewed.
Mr Machogu should be alarmed that education experts have queried some of the results, terming them as an aberration. His two predecessors, Dr Fred Matiang’i and Prof George Magoha, relentlessly fought cheating to restore confidence in our national exams. Indeed, the onus is now on the CS to allow scrutiny to confirm that the results he released last Friday had not been tampered with.
Was the Nyanza region, for instance, especially the Gusiiland counties, favoured? The CS insists there was nothing amiss and that only the ban on ranking of schools discouraged the release of a comprehensive breakdown of the results.
However, at stake is the credibility of the national exam that will determine who goes to university and who joins a tertiary college or looks for other engagements. The vital transition must be carefully handled to bring out fairly the abilities and talents of the candidates and lead them into their right careers.
Questions arose after some schools recorded a spike in the number of candidates scoring straight A grades. That a small part of the country, where none of the traditional academic giants are located, can claim most of the 1,146 ‘A’s is suspect.
One little school got 28 As, up from four in the previous exam. Its lowest grade was a B-minus. It had a mean score of 10 points and all its 488 candidates got direct entry to university.
Instead of the CS trying to sweep the suspicions under the carpet, it is in the interest of the country that the whole truth comes out. The matter has caught the eye of politicians and, with debate raging on social media, is bound to get messier.
Exams are key in the training of manpower and must be jealously guarded. This is all we ask of the CS, and government.