KNEC in crisis meeting over exams leakage

Kenya’s exam council holds crisis meeting over alleged leakage - NAIROBI: The Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) Friday held a crisis meeting as pressure mounted on the agency to investigate the source of examination papers currently in circulation.


The Standard on Saturday established that the Knec examination committee met to chat the way forward on the 2015 examinations in the wake of distribution of examination question papers complete with marking schemes.

Sources at the meeting attended by Education PS Belio Kipsang’ were briefed that the extent of the examination leakage is not as portrayed in the media.

“Knec was advised to up the measures already in place and to keep a close eye on the examination progress better than it has done,” said an official who attended the crisis meeting Friday.

The official said Knec was also advised to work closely with the media and continuously give updates on the examination.

“There was no major concern that could see the examination halted,” he added.

Other sources who spoke to The Standard on Saturday pointed fingers at Knec staff as being behind the massive examination leakage that Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi and Knec Chief Executive Officer Joseph Kivilu have dismissed as fake.

But it also emerged that the demoralised teachers could be conniving to sabotage the 2015 national examinations after the government failed to honour a court ruling on their September salary.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut,) however, attributed the rising cases of cheating to lack of adequate preparation by the candidates.

EXAM IRREGULARITIES

“Many students were inadequately prepared for the examinations after the careless handling of a dispute with teachers led to the unfortunate historic strike by the teachers and it is obvious that this could be one of the reasons behind the increased cases of examination irregularities being reported in our nation,” said Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion.

He said the education sector, this year alone, lost seven valuable weeks of learning instruction period.

“The candidates are sitting KCSE examinations not fully prepared,” said Sossion. In a statement released to newsrooms Friday, Knut leadership also asked Kaimenyi to resign.

“He has failed to secure our examination integrity, he has ridiculed the teachers and he is associated with everything that is going wrong in the education sector,” said Sossion.

Kivilu Friday said investigations are underway to ascertain the source of the material.

He said the greatest threat to examinations is technology. “The fake papers are being distributed through WhatsApp, (a mobile phone application),” said Kivilu.

Multiple interviews with parents, teachers and some of the candidates revealed most examination papers done this week were in circulation two to three days ahead of the real test date.

And now calls are mounting on Knec to suspend the examinations to allow time for investigations.

Kenya National Association of Parents Secretary General Musau Ndunda said he is gathering evidence that he would produce in court to challenge the examinations.

“We are trying to get copies of the exam papers which are in public domain to stop the examinations through a court process,” he said.

A teacher from Kakamega County who spoke to The Standard on Saturday, however, said the papers are in the market.

“At first, the examination papers were being sold for Sh1000. But now they are so many that they can be bought cheaper of even distributed for free,” said the teacher.

Some school heads who spoke in confidence Friday said they have lost control of their staff on the examination leakage.

“As a head you can only warn that no staff or student should be in possession of examination material because it is illegal.

But what they (candidates and teachers) do behind me I honestly would not know,” said the teacher from Homa Bay County.

MARKET PLACE

The principal said it is not easy to point a finger at the source because the papers ‘just pop up’. “I thought it was all rumours until I went to the market place and someone confronted me with some copies.

The following day the questions matched what I was shown,” said the teacher. Knec, however, maintains examinations management is a watertight process.

The brief, seen by The Standard on Saturday, explains the process of administration of the national tests. The brief says printing of the examinations is done overseas and preserved with tamper proof seals.

The document says the process at this stage is strictly computer to paper. “The examination questions are packed in polybags and any leakage at this stage means slitting the entire pack which is not easy to re-seal,” reads the brief.

The final stage, according to the brief, is when Knec receives the examinations from the printer. “The examination papers come when they are already packed. Knec staff only categorise them per school and as per the days’ timetable schedule.”

The brief says: “The moment examinations leave Knec to the regions, they are under the custody of the police, field education officers, the education examination officer of the zone and the supervisors.”

A source from Knec said examination leakage takes place at this stage. “A lot of leakage reports come from this stage and this means that it is the responsibility of all of us to ensure credibility of examinations,” said the Knec staff familiar with examinations security.

Another teacher who is also an invigilator said that teachers are broke and noted that lack of September salary may have fanned the cheating exercise.

Official figures from Knec reveals that the agency requires some 35,434 supervisors and another 91,387 invigilators to administer both Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams.

Some 937, 467 candidates have registered to sit KCPE examinations and another 525, 802 for KCSE this year.

KCPE examinations are scheduled to kick off in November 10, while KCSE written examinations started on October 12.

So far, more than 20 candidates have been arraigned in court for being in possession of examination material.

Kivilu, the Kenc CEO, said a secondary school director and university students have also been arrested and arraigned in court. The Standard 23 October, 2015 - http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000180558/knec-in-crisis-meeting-over-exams-leakage

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