MPs to summon education officials over exam cheating
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu and Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) officials will be summoned by MPs investigating claims of cheating in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam.
The National Assembly Committee on Education, which is probing the administration of the exam, said preliminary findings show that there was massive cheating.
Committee chairman Julius Melly said stakeholders have confessed that there was cheating and that is why they will be summoning Mr Machogu and Knec officials. He added that upon the conclusion of investigations, they will recommend measures to ensure the integrity of future exams.
Mr Melly said parents' payment of motivation fees for teachers and principals being under pressure to produce good results and earn promotions were some of the motivations for cheating.
“As a committee, we want to bring this exam cheating to an end. We are probing KCSE because there was an uproar across the whole country. Some schools had a mean score of six and shot up all the way up to 10, and some had three and got seven. This is where the issue is,” said Mr Melly.
Mr Melly termed the cheating a national crisis.
“We want to see the extent and curb it. I won’t say we will recall the 2022 KCSE certificates but we want to investigate the extent of the vice,” he said.
According to the committee chairman, Knec is fully involved in the cheating.
“The council itself is actually the main source of cheating, it is alleged that Knec is selling the exams. KCSE is an exam that has stakes, parents want their children to perform, teachers are under pressure from parents to perform and examination officers from the council want to make money,” Mr Mellys said.
The committee will table its report in the National Assembly in two months’ time. The report will include schools affected by the cheating, teachers, Knec officials, invigilators and the number of students involved, Mr Melly said.
The team has so far visited Embu, Nyeri and Machakos counties and met education stakeholders including parents, teachers, students and leaders. It will also hold sittings in Wajir, Nyamira and Kisumu.
Mandera South MP Abdul Haro said Kenyans deserve to know how some schools miraculously excelled in the examination.
“Knec has been accused of selling the test, it’s a booming business that has made many wealthy. If we continue watching our students stealing exams we will have thieves in all sectors,” he said.
Igembe North MP Julius Taitumu said: “It does not require rocket science to tell that there was cheating. A school cannot leap three positive deviations from a mean of 5 to 8, it is impossible as any exam follows a normal curve. You can tell there was cheating in the last exams.”
The committee members made the remarks after a public hearing session at the Coast National Polytechnic Hall in Mombasa. There was poor turnout after teachers and parents boycotted the session fearing intimidation.
Kenya National Union of Teachers Mombasa branch secretary-general Dan Aloo and his Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers counterpart Lynnette Khamadi urged Knec to “open the servers” to enable scrutiny of the irregularities.
“Despite the efforts by the Ministry of Education, Knec and the Ministry of Interior to secure national examinations, the scourge seems to be rearing its head again,” said Ms Khamadi, adding that the results revealed massive cheating.
Mr Aloo said the examinations were marred with malpractices that saw the papers and marking schemes circulated on social media before the exams.
“This means that within the council, there were persons who gained access to the examination materials and knowingly revealed the contents to unauthorised persons,” said Mr Aloo.