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The Kenya National Examinations 2018 are due to begin in less than a month. The Kenya certificate of primary education is slated to start on the 30th of October with rehearsals to be conducted countrywide on the 29th of October. The Kenya certificate of secondary education, on the other hand, is slated for the 2nd day of November with the last paper expected to be done on the 28th of the same month.

Third term for the candidates involves activities all of which are aimed to prepare for the long-awaited national exam.  By now the teachers are done with the syllabus, and the term is dedicated to revision purposes in a bid to cover all that has been taught over the years, it is indeed a season for preparation.

Students can be seen chasing teachers around with a series of questions for purposes of clarity. Schools also have systems in place to gauge the preparedness of their students with Mock exams.

Over the years a different form of preparation has been seen in our schools, where most students, teacher and parents have been preparing on how to cheat in the anticipated examinations. Some school principals have been laying elaborate plans to help their students cheat in the final exams with the help of parents.

Recent reports by the National Examiner (KNEC) indicate that some school are still conducting prayers and other activities during the third term period contrary to the guidelines set by Ministry of education . The national examiner has also revealed that some schools are giving their candidates access to fake papers and are involved in the planning of how to allow pre-exposure of test materials on the examination day.

The abolished prayer days in the third term of the school calendar have been discovered as a major contributing factor to the prevalence of cheating in exams with national examiner revealing the undertakings of the exercise as a period where money exchanges hands from parents to principals who in turn promise access to examination papers.

“In some of the cases, in Kisii and Garissa as stated in the news, some principals are collecting money from parents during the prayers promising access to examination papers.” Said Prof George Magoha Kenya National Examination Council Chairman

Measures taken

In a bid to curb the exam cheating epidemic in the country the Ministry of education introduced a raft of new measures and guidelines meant to eradicate the vice.

The sweeping reforms would include all school heads being in charge of their respective schools and being personally responsible for cheating cases reported in their institutions.

All non-academic activities were banned during third term a move aimed at limiting contact between the candidates and the outsiders while also reducing disturbance during the examination period. The ban extended to visiting and prayer meetings organized prior to the exams resulting in denied entry of parents, relatives and friends during the examination period to control and ensure adequate preparation for examinations.

With the new measures school activities such as annual general meetings, (AGMs) and prize giving days usually slated for the third term of the school calendar will now be restricted to the second term.

Also, with the new reforms, only candidates shall be in the examination centers during the administration of the test.

Cheating hotspots

Recently the National examiner KNEC named six counties where it says the school heads have laid out strategic plans to aid the students to cheat in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination which kicks off early next month. The counties highlighted are Meru, Kiambu, Garrisa, West Pokot, Kisii and Wajir as parts of Nyanza are still under investigation.

In a swift action, the council has forwarded the names of suspected principals involved in the malpractices to security agencies. The ministry of education has also come out actively saying that examination officials guilty of compromising the security of test materials will be suspended and that candidates in such centers will not be allowed to continue with the exercise as their results will be automatically nullified.

A spot check by Elimu holdings has revealed that some of the counties identified as cheating hotspots were involved in irregularities in last year’s examinations in which 1,205 KCSE results were cancelled.

A detailed report by Knec on last year’s cheating in national examinations indicate that the primary reason for the cancellation is as a result of candidates found in possession of examination materials on their mobile phones. While also detecting collusion involving candidates producing identical responses in an examination citing 64 centers where malpractices were detected.

This a year a total of 663,820 registered candidates are expected to sit for the KCSE exam while 1.06 million will sit for the KCPE exam.


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