In Summary
  • All question papers will be escorted by armed security officers to and from the containers accompanied by centre managers.
  • Prof Magoha warned the Knec to ensure supervisors and invigilators were not posted to the same stations where they have worked in the past two years.

Teachers and examination officials have devised new ways of cheating in the national tests, prompting the need for increased surveillance.

Some of the tricks likely to be employed in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams, which begin on Tuesday, and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams were responsible for the cancellation of results in 16 counties last year, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has said.

“The malpractices include early exposure of the second paper in some of the days and claims of inadvertent opening of afternoon tests in the morning,” he says, adding that culprits will “have the full force of the law applied against them”.

He says some of the supervisors and invigilators are colluding to have some of the papers transported from the containers in private vehicles rather than designated government cars to allow tampering with the tests, says Prof Magoha in a document released to the examination officials ahead of the exams.

“Some schools have hatched plans to have some of the teachers hover around examination centres in the guise of being cooks, watchmen or other subordinate staff. Upon opening of the papers, questions are then quickly sneaked to the teachers who try to smuggle the answers into the test halls,” says Prof Magoha.

COMPLIANCE

He says some schools have had structures set up around examination centres where hired people are handed the papers to quickly work out the answers, which are then smuggled into the halls.

“Audacious and unscrupulous supervisors are planning to collude with the rest of the examination staff to have some papers opened prematurely," he says, adding that the ministry has mapped out about 300 examination centres countrywide where cheating is likely to take place.

“I urge everyone, including candidates and examination officials, to strictly comply with the regulations to avoid falling into the security traps we have mapped out,” says the CS in a tough warning timed to coincide with KCPE rehearsals Monday.

Some 1,088,986 candidates will write the Standard Eight test in 27,809 centres across the country, starting with Mathematics and English Section A on Tuesday morning and English Composition in the afternoon.

On Wednesday, they will sit Science, Kiswahili Lugha and Kiswahili Insha and conclude with Social Studies and religious Education on Thursday.

SECURITY

On the other hand, a total of 699,745 Form Four candidates, who are already sat foreign languages and science practicals, will begin their theory tests in 10,287 centres on November 4.

According to Prof Magoha, all question papers will be escorted by armed security officers to and from the containers accompanied by centre managers.

Prof Magoha, who was in 2016 appointed head of the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) and is credited with stamping out cheating ever since, says he is upbeat the tests will be foolproof.

“I urge parents not to fall prey to claims that there are people who can help them gain prior access to genuine examination papers. This is impossible,” says the University of Nairobi lecturer who assumed the Education docket as CS in March this year.

“The ministry is aware of plans by centre managers to retain teachers employed by boards of management to aid in cheating. Those with such plans have been identified and are being monitored,” he says, warning the exams council to ensure supervisors and invigilators were not posted to the same stations where they have worked in the past two years.

TRANSITION RATE

The government has in the past two years been campaigning to ensure all Standard Eight candidates are enrolled in Form One to achieve a 100 per cent transition rate.

So far, an average of 95 per cent of primary leavers have been admitted in various secondary schools across the country.

After Form Four, about 100,000 candidates will join the 74 private and public universities while the rest are expected to join the 1,300 Technical and Vocational Education Training institutions in addition to other tertiary colleges.

Results of the KCPE examination are likely to be released before Christmas, while those for KCSE will be out at the end of the year.