Address concerns around KCSE results

KCSE results exam

Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang (centre) holds up copies of the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam results released on January 20, 2023, at Mitihani House. With him are Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu (right) and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) CEO Dr Nancy Macharia.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Destroying a country doesn’t require the use of atomic bombs or long-range missiles.

It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in examinations by students. This was said by a lecturer at a South African university.

The Kenya National Examinations Council is a critical Qualifications Awarding Institution (QAI) in the country whose reputation has been put to test given the cynicism that has greeted the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination results.

Interestingly, the government is in the process of checking the academic qualifications of those in its employment as recently directed by the Public Service Commission of Kenya. Therefore, the uproar that greeted last year’s KCSE results points to an already muddled situation.

Fake qualifications can be broadly categorised into three; a qualification that seems to be issued by an accredited institution but is actually produced illegally. The common parlance in Kenya has been that such capabilities are produced by the ‘River Road University.’

Altered information

The second category of fake qualifications is those issued by accredited institutions, but the qualification holder has altered the information such as grades or names. This is usually to circumvent the entry requirements of jobs like the disciplined forces, teacher training colleges, medical training colleges and the promotions thereafter.

Finally, a qualification is considered fake if it is acquired from a non-reputable QAI commonly known as ‘Degree Mills.’ Degree Mills are fake universities that have no authority to admit, train, examine and award qualifications which can be universally accepted for employment or further academic purposes.

The fourth form of a fake qualification is one awarded by a QAI that is infiltrated by examination cartels. This is difficult to detect since it affects the whole country and generation. Whereas the certificates will be genuine, issues of examiners teaching to the examination, selling of marking schemes and outright grade buying are some of the tricks employed by the unscrupulous players. Therefore the integrity of all parties involved in the whole examination cycle is crucial and must be ascertained.

It is frightening to imagine the consequences of fake qualifications on the economy. The Qualifications Awarding Institutions (QAIs) whose awards are regularly plagiarised risk their reputation globally. This has the spiral effect of affecting future graduates from the affected QAIs due to the historical association.

Employees holding dubious qualifications risk the economy, perform below standard and are at litigation risk. The thought of flying with a quack pilot or doctor is nerve-racking. Does this explain the frequent collapse of buildings in the country?

Hudson Nandokha, Nairobi

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