Nyambaria students chase away exam officials for ‘harassment’

Nyambaria High School.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

Nyambaria High School candidates on Tuesday chased away examination officials amid allegations of harassment and intimidation.

The school in Nyamira topped the country’s 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations but was last week implicated in examination malpractices.

The school’s principal, Charles Onyari, was suspended last week for “facilitating examination malpractices” at the school.

Several sources told the Nation that the students had been unruly for some time on Tuesday, forcing senior education officials and police officers to visit the school.

“There was a problem there and we are dealing with it. The students chased away some Knec (Kenya National Examinations Council) officials,” said a detective in the county.

More security officers were seen going into the school when the Nation team arrived at the school gate at around 1.30pm.

Over the weekend, a group of senators accused exam officials in the county of mistreating candidates as they searched for evidence of cheating.

Senators Eddy Oketch (Migori), Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi), Enoch Wambua (Kitui) and Okong'o Omogeni (Nyamira) said Knec officials were out to tarnish the image of Gusii schools.

The lawmakers urged Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu to defend schools in his community from blackmail and victimisation.

Meanwhile, police in Kisii are investigating another examination malpractice incident involving a private candidate sitting her exams at Nyanchwa Boys High School.

According to police reports, on Monday, a Knec official saw a mobile phone on a table next to an open window in a classroom adjacent to the examination room. The phone could only be accessed with a password.

After the candidates had finished the Mathematics Paper 2 exam, the official asked for the owner of the mobile phone and the candidate, aged 30, said it was hers.

After she helped to unlock the phone, the maths paper that the students had just taken was found posted and circulated in four WhatsApp groups.

“One WhatsApp group had more than 12,000 members. Members of the group were asked to pay up to Sh10,000 for more exam papers,” reads the report seen by the Nation.

Last week, two students from Nyambaria Boys High School were questioned and released on a Sh10,000 bail each. According to Nyamira County Directorate of Criminal Investigations boss Paul Makonge, “the two students were caught with an examination paper”. He added that a student at Sironga Girls High School was also questioned over cheating allegations.

Police are still looking for a teacher at Gekomoni Secondary School whose mobile phone was reportedly found with a photo of an exam paper.