Schools where unauthorised mobile phones are found will be declared to have committed an examination irregularity, an official warned on Friday as the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations kicked off.
This is part of the three cautionary measures issued to centre managers to guarantee the integrity of the examination, said Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development CEO Chief Executive Officer Charles Ong'onda.
He was speaking at the deputy county commissioner’s offices in Luanda, Vihiga County, when he led the opening of the examination container.
"Mobile phones should not be in school during the examination. The gadgets have been used to take photos of examination papers and send them via WhatsApp," Prof Ong'onda said.
He warned: "If unauthorised mobile phones are found in school, it will be treated as an examination irregularity."
Only centre managers are allowed to have their mobile phones on during the examinations.
Other officers, including supervisors, invigilators and police officers, will be required to hand over their gadgets to the centre manager and only pick them up at the end of the tests every day.
Needed to stay away
Prof Ong'onda also warned against strangers entering schools and urged teachers whose services are not needed to stay away.
He cautioned examination officers against early exposure of test papers, noting that security features on them will enable the Kenya National Examinations Council to detect such attempts.
Prof Ong'onda was with Western Regional Education Director Stephen Barongo, who said 114,725 candidates in the region are sitting the national tests.
Mr Barongo said the region that includes Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia and Kakamega was ready for the examination.
"The examination officers have been briefed and we are set to deliver a credible examination. Strangers are not allowed in school and communities should give schools peace to enable the candidates to write the examination well," he said.
Teachers Service Commission Western Regional Director Lilian Mwangi called for vigilance, saying: "We are a phone call away in case of any emergencies at the centres and we have [an adequate] back-up plan."