Alert as cartels target marking centres to influence grades
The administrators of this year’s national examinations have said there will be fewer grade As than in previous years, a result of the crackdown on cheating.
At the same time, The Standard has established that security agents are on high alert following confidential reports that examination cartels are now targeting examination markers and marking centres.
Sources said a network of people keen to influence results of the just-concluded national exams are targeting individual markers.
It emerged that after failing to beat the high security intelligence mounted during the administration of the exams; the cartels are scheming to spend huge sums of money to buy favourable grades from the examiners.
Multiple sources – teachers and Government officials – who spoke said the intelligence report has triggered a high-level of alertness, with 'same level of ruthlessness' planned for any person caught in the web.
"It is unfortunate that these cartels cannot give up. They are now running to the marking centres to influence grades," said a senior Government official familiar with the operation.
However, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said the Government will remain firm in its quest to deliver credible examinations.
He said the same level of strictness employed during the administration of the tests will be extended to marking.
"We are going to maintain the same level of seriousness and supervision when it comes to marking," said Matiang'i. Without revealing the cartels' mode of operation, the official said some group of persons had attempted to infiltrate the marking centres.
"This time, they will not succeed and the sooner they keep off the better. They will be jailed," said the official.
Speaking yesterday in Machakos during the close of the month-long exercise, Matiang'i said examinations are not complete until results are processed and released.
"We want a credible exam all through, and a credible exam is not one because of administration alone but by preparations, setting administration, marking and organising the results," he said.
And speaking in Kisumu,the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) chairman Prof George Magoha said marking will be tightly monitored and supervised, just the way the examination had been guarded.
"I am assuring you that the way this exam is going to be marked, the marks that are going to be recorded, the mark that the student will be awarded is going to be that which he/she will have attained," he said in Kisumu.
Magoha warned people with ill-motive in the marking centres. "For those who will be going to the marking centres with other ideas of stealing exams, don't destroy your career as we have sealed all the loopholes," said Magoha.
Government sources yesterday said security and intelligence has been beefed up across all marking centres.
Details reveal that a special team of detectives is monitoring teachers selected to mark the national examinations as part of efforts to address cheating.
The strategy was implemented after some
teachers who had converged at a city marking centre were arrested for exchanging text messages on the progress of their scheduled meeting.
The teachers had just arrived at the centre and exchanged text messages when police arrived and arrested them for questioning on claims they were plotting to tamper with the marking.
Address anomaly And as part of efforts to address such an anomaly, authorities ordered all teachers participating in the exercise to surrender their mobile phones on arrival at the centres.
2016 marking rules set by Knec and seen by The Standard spells out strict punishment for teachers found to have contravened the rules.
"Any examiner found contravening this regulation will be dismissed instantly and a report made to his/her employer for disciplinary action."
The document, signed by the acting chief executive officer Mercy Karogo, warns examiners against discussing marking and other welfare issues with the press or other unauthorised persons.
The examiners have also been warned not to post pictures or share any information through the social media platforms during and after the marking exercise.
"Any examiner found contravening this regulation shall be instantly dismissed," says Karogo. At the marking centres, strict security measures have also been implemented to keep off intruders.
Every person getting into or out of a marking centre shall be subjected to security checks/frisking at the gate.
Marking of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) had been going on simultaneously.
However, that of KCPE ended last week, and officials involved have already been paid.
"By yesterday (Tuesday), supervisors and invigilators who handled KCPE and had completed their assignments had already been paid," said Matiang'i.
Some 5,000 examiners were engaged in marking KCPE in Nairobi, Murang'a and Kiambu centres.
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