More than 1700 KCPE candidates cheated, Kaimenyi

More than 1700 candidates who sat this year's KCPE will miss their results for involvement in cheating, with invigilators and supervisors taking the heat for abetting irregularities.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof Jacob Kaimenyi reported rising number of cases in exam cheating and warned of harsher punishment for teachers who encouraged irregularities. " is extremely disturbing that both teachers and parents are involved," Kaimenyi said while releasing the results on Monday, linking the worsening situation to 'the decaying morals in the Kenyan society'.

Most of the irregularities were reported for English and Kiswahili, he added.

Kaimenyi directed his ministry to investigate why the two subjects are the most affected this year, and historically.

There were 126 more cases of exam cheating in the 2014 results when compared to the 1576 reported last year. The cheating trend is particularly worrying because there were only 70 cases in 2012, to the 1702 reported today. "... we must check the affinity for cheating and come up with interventions to reverse this trend," Kaimenyi said.

Nearly all the cases, 99.9 per cent of the cheating cases were in the form of collusion between candidates sitting the examinations.

Without listing what punitive measures the ministry would take against the invigilators, Kaimenyi only promised new tough penalties on culpable examination manning staff.

Kenya has tried to curb exam cheating through introduction of tough penalties including banning the student for three years and lengthy jail term.

The Kenya National Examination Act 2012 imposes a ten-year jail term or Sh2 million fine for exam cheats including students, parents and fraudsters who con students.

It is however not clear if the culprit is below the age of 18, as the case is with most candidates sitting KCPE.

A typical class 8 pupil in Kenya is 14-years-old, given the State-proscribed age of 6 for enrolling primary school.

The CS attributed
the rising cases of cheating to soaring competition for places in secondary schools where even desperate parents went to extraordinary heights like procuring examination material, if only to improve their chances of progressing after KCPE.

Already, 200,000 candidates are expected to miss out in Form 1 placement, thanks to a limited number of slots in public secondary schools.

Prohibitively high fees charged by private secondary schools means the end of the road for candidates from poor backgrounds who are not absorbed into public secondary schools. - Standard, Monday December 29, 2014

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