State seeks ICT experts to trace groups sharing exam questions

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu. The CS said experts would monitor social media trends to identify individuals who create or distribute messages and alleged questions on national tests. 


Photo credit: Tonny Omondi | Nation Media Group

The government is seeking the help of cybercrime experts to trace individuals or groups sharing national examination questions on mobile phones.

The experts will trace individuals at the centre of the scheme as the government seeks to protect the integrity of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCSE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu said the experts would monitor social media trends to identify individuals who create or distribute messages and alleged questions on national tests. 

Mr Machogu said already two university students have been arrested. 

“Let nobody lie to you that they have questions for the forthcoming national examinations. All the examination materials and papers are intact and secure,” the minister said at Homa Bay High School yesterday during a meeting of examination centre managers from Migori and Homa Bay.

He added that headteachers have in the past fallen victim to fraudsters who convince them that they can sell them examination papers before the actual day of the tests. 

“Some principals go to the extent of colluding with parents who contribute money to buy the papers,” Mr Machogu said. 

Counties in South Nyanza have in the past been marked as national examination cheating hotspots. 

Homa Bay County Commissioner Moses Lilan said cheating in the region went down with stringent measures put in by the government to secure the integrity of the national exams. 

“The vice was rampant two years ago but a multi-agency approach addressed the matter in 2021. We hope not to be mentioned as culprits this year,” Mr Lilan said.

Start of exams

National examinations, including two in primary schools, will begin later this month and continue into December.

According to the Ministry of Education, some 3.4 million candidates will sit the tests. 

The number includes 884,263 KCSE exam candidates.

Mr Machogu said stakeholders have been involved in ensuring the success of national examinations. 

The CS added that he has been holding weekly meetings with his ICT and Digital Economy colleague Eliud Owalo and Interior’s Kithure Kindiki to ensure the success and integrity of the examinations. 

“The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the remaining Cabinet Secretaries will also be involved in the national exercise when that time comes,” Mr Machogu said. 

The heads of security agencies have received training on how to handle the examinations. 

They are expected to cascade the information to their juniors who will be directly involved in the exercise at the collection points and examination centres.

Mr Machogu said security officers would be required to sign a form every time an examination paper or material is opened. 

“The officers will indicate the time the paper was opened,” he stated. 

Action will be taken against examination managers found to have opened the papers before the set time. 

“Some managers usually expose questions to candidates before the right time for the examination. That must stop,” the CS added. 

The police officers will be required to receive and record any information given to them by centre managers.

Basic Education Principal Secretary Julius Jwan, Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) Chief Executive David Ngeng’ere and County Education Director Eunice Khaemba attended the meeting.

Dr Jwan said he would soon be leaving office after addressing a number of issues affecting teachers and schools, including delayed funding.

He said he has held talks with Education PS nominee Belio Kipsang for the funds to be sent to schools every month.

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