What you need to know:
- Mr Machogu said the audit will unearth why some candidates got wrong results from the mobile telco that was contracted by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) to relay correct and accurate results
- According to the CS, no contract was terminated explaining that the award of the printing exams is normally done every year and not on a long-term basis.
The erroneous results of the 2022 Standard Eight national exams received by some candidates through the SMS platform will now be subjected to a forensic audit with the outcome expected in 14 days.
Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu on Thursday told members of Parliament that he has already written to his Information, Communication and Digital Economy counterpart Eliud Owalo to conduct the forensic audit and table report.
Appearing before the National Assembly Committee on Education over the numerous errors in the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) test results, Mr Machogu said the audit will unearth why some candidates got wrong results from the mobile telco that was contracted by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) to relay correct and accurate results.
“We have requested a forensic audit from an independent body. I have already written to my colleague in ICT so that we know what happened. I have also written to Safaricom so that we know exactly what happened,” Mr Machogu told MPs.
For instance, some of the widely reported anomalies included candidates receiving grades with missing quality signs of plus (+) or minus (-). Some candidates received their grades of 73B+ while others with the same score indicated 73B (plain) while some had 75A (plain) instead of the correct grade which is 75A- (minus)
“From the preliminary review of the matter, it has been established this problem was caused by the truncation of data by the service provider, leading to the missing signs,” Mr Machogu said.
The CS also told MPs that from the preliminary report, the errors were also caused by configuration issues on the interface used to access results data from the database of the service provider
Mr Machogu told MPs that this year’s anomalies of assigning different grades to identical marks were reported on the SMS platform messages but clarified that there were no such anomalies in the official results on the KNEC portal and in the printouts sent to schools.
“This optional SMS service is charged at a fee of Sh25 against airtime per SMS request. The clients are only billed for successful requests and are not charged for unsuccessful requests,” Mr Machogu said.
The CS told MPs that the rate for the SMS code service charge was agreed upon with the service provider and is within the standard premium rates for similar services offered by government institutions via SMS codes
“I wish to reiterate that no person was charged for messages sent before the results could be accessed and only received an SMS informing them of the delay,” Mr Machogu said.
While Mr Machogu said the forensic audit will address the anomalies on the SMS platform, MPs want other issues such as the audit of the entire results of the 2023 KCPE included in the report.
MPs want the audit to include candidates who were awarded marks in subjects they did not sit for such as sign language, the recourse for candidates who got wrong marks, reimbursement of money to parents who sent SMS and got wrong results but were charged, and comprehensively address the instances where some candidates in some schools got the same marks in a particular subject.
“Ensure you cover all those issues by members in your report that you will present before us,” directed the committee chairman Julius Melly.
Mandera South MP Abdul Ebrahim said the forensic audit should not be confined to the errors that occurred on the SMS platform alone.
“Why only confine the audit to SMS, we want the entire 2023 results audited,” Mr Ebrahim said.
Accompanied by Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang, KNEC CEO David Njeng'ere and other senior officials from both the education ministry and the examination council, Mr Machogu said he has nothing to hide and will provide all the information required.
"We are not hiding anything, when we find that the right marks were not given, we will give. People have appealed and we have adjusted,” Mr Machogu said.
Dr Njeng'ere told MPs that they have already written to the mobile telco that was providing results through the SMS platform demanding to know whether there are parents that were charged and received wrong results.
“If anyone was charged and received wrong messages, a refund will be made,” Dr Njeng’ere said.
Mr Machogu also told off Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga over claims that vicious tender wars were at the centre of the reported discrepancies on the KCPE results.
According to the CS, no contract was terminated explaining that the award of the printing exams is normally done every year and not on a long-term basis.
“The procurement is done on an annual basis. We don’t give someone a contract for two or three years and the same procurement laws that were used last year, are the same ones that were used this year and will be used even next year,” Mr Machogu said.
Mr Melly also urged political players not to politicise education matters saying it should be left to the relevant stakeholders to address the emerging issues.