It has been reported in the media that at least cases of malpractices have so far reached seventy in the first week of the on-going KCSE which the Cs Professor George Magoha has dismissed as only attempts to cheat.
This malpractice is likely to snowball to a number of schools if the cartels are not stopped immediately. Failure to stop the malpractice by those in charge of the management of the exams might translate into more cancellation of the results, meaning students detected to have been involved in the cheating during the marking will be the most affected.
It is also disheartening that despite the stringent measures put in place, these cartels seem to be smarter than the Ministry of education in planning for the cheating. Probably this is also their time to make quick money which is unethical.
The cartels are much aware that the society today still puts a lot of emphasis on grades and those who excel in academics are honoured publicly and are seen as intelligent whether they cheat or not. Society is to be blamed in these malpractices as well. I hope the new curriculum, that is, the competency based curriculum will cure this disease.
But why should a student cheat? Research shows that lack of preparedness for examinations, an excessive emphasis on grades, that Straight A’s lead to successful careers, and sometimes pressure from parents, school and even peers.
Focus on competition
For instance, there are some schools which have made grade policies that focus on competition for higher scores rather than ensuring that students have mastered the subject matter or the content. The push by the school to produce results is also making some teachers commit this crime by engaging in aiding cheating in exams.
On the other hand, the cheating currently experienced in schools might be as a result of learners who were ill-prepared to sit for the exams. Logically, a student who is well-prepared has little time to think about cheating compared to one who is ill-prepared.
An ill-prepared student is likely to engage in all manners of unacceptable behaviours that compromises the integrity of exams provided one passes. To remedy this, the student-teacher ratio should be carefully examined.
The 100 per cent transition policy continues to pile pressure on the already few teachers in schools, yet the government seems to be moving at slow pace to bridge the gap. The teacher shortage in schools can be one reason why students are ill-prepared for the national exams.
In fact, some subjects are never taught due to lack of teachers to teach them and if they are, then some of the students are taught by form four school leavers who lack the capacity to teach effectively, yet there are many graduates who could have been hired to bridge the gaps of teacher shortages in the country.
The ministry of education through the teacher service commission should have a serious discussion with the treasury to allocate more funds in hiring more teachers to ensure that the student teacher ratio meets the international standard.
This will ensure that the students are well prepared by the teachers before sitting for exams hence reducing cases of cheating in schools.
Professor George Magoha had pledged that by the time he is leaving the government come August, this year, an additional 10,000 classrooms, apart from the 4000 already constructed, would have been completed.
The professor should also assure the public that by the time he is leaving the office, more teachers would have been employed as well to handle the junior secondary school come 2023.
Aross Samwel Onyango, Homa Bay