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Preliminary Report : TSC’s Pressure on Heads to Post Good KCSE Results Led to Cheating

The National Assembly committee investigating alleged cheating on the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) has established that Pressure by the teachers’ service commission (TSC) and other stakeholders on school principals to post impressive results may have led to the glaring malpractices.

The National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Education, gathered that pressure on school heads, from parents, the society and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to post impressive results contributed to irregularities in the KCSE exams.

Led by National Assembly Education Committee chairman Julius Melly, the team kicked off investigations on the alleged malpractices in the 2022 exams on Monday.

Stakeholders also blamed the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec) and the general public for the vice that saw learners get illegitimate grades.

Nakuru County chairman for Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA) Kamu Manyara, attributed the pressure to school heads’ engagement in unethical practices to produce ‘impressive grades’.

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In a memorandum to the committee, Mr Manyara regretted incidents reported of school heads being frog marched out of their facilities by politicians and parents, when candidates fail saying such pressure drives them into unethical practices.

“We have heard of school heads frog marched or chased from institutions by politicians and parents because learners did not post impressive results in KCSE. This is what partly pushes school heads to do everything possible including getting involved in irregularities to post good results,” revealed Mr Manyara.

Mr Manyara further revealed that TSC, which employs teachers, has also on instances sent show cause letters to school heads whose institution fail to post impressive performance, hence their efforts to cover up.

According to Mr Manyara, the integrity of the 2022 exam results was questionable and should be investigated.

The KESSHA chairman stated that the buck stops with KNEC, accusing the body of not doing enough to safeguard examination materials prior to their due date.

“We can’t run away from the fact that there was massive cheating in 2022. It happened. We shall be unfair to the Kenyan child if we sidestep this fact. KNEC is the elephant in the room. It is not doing its work as expected,” said Mr Manyara.

According to him, rogue officers were allowing a section of the schools to access the materials to give their candidates an edge over others, giving false impressions on the student’s performance.

He called on Knec to limit the number of people accessing exam materials and introduce security features that would help trace the origin of the leaked materials.

“Marking schemes were circulating on social media before the exams were held. We doubted their authenticity only to learn they were genuine after the exams were done. The ICT team tasked with data entry after marking should be investigated. Some collude with principals to enter favorable grades in exchange for monetary favors,” said Mr Manyara.

During the public hearings in Nakuru City, stakeholders told the committee how various players play a part or contribute to cheating and other malpractices in administration of national exams.

Mr Francis Mugo, a teacher, suggested that individual universities should have their own entrance exams and not depend on KCSE to determine which applicants qualify to join the specific courses.

He said that this will curb cheating and ensure only deserving students are admitted to university saying that parents are paying hefty sums of money to schools which buy leaked exam materials.

He added that the Ministry of Education should stop categorising schools, terming it discriminatory and pushing principals to bend their integrity to save the face of their institutions and jobs.

“Teachers are under pressure to ensure their students go to universities. This is why some schools miraculously jumped their mean score with a deviation of more than four points,” said Mugo.

Ms Mirriam Ngima, an elder noted that teachers have also been largely involved in exam malpractices by interfering with the registration process of candidates at various centers.

“Some teachers are registering candidates based on performance in internal exams. The bright students are registered at one school while the rest are registered at another to manipulate the mean grades,” said Mr Ngima.

Lugari MP Nabii Nabwera lauded the residents for their insight noting that this will go a long way in transforming the country’s education system.

“Bad doctors and engineers who became who they are by manipulating our systems will only leave us suffering. We must clear the mess in our education system,” said Mr Nabii.

Kitutu Masaba MP Clive Ombane Gisairo echoed the sentiments by the residents calling for abolition of fun fare in the announcement of national examination results.

“I agree that we need to do away with the celebrations. Before having the fun fare, we need to know whether we are celebrating genuine results or mediocrity,” said Ombane.

Nyamira woman representative Jerusha Momanyi said that lack of integrity in KCSE exams was evident once the students were admitted at the universities.

“It is suspect that students with good KCSE grades select great courses but drop by second year applying to defer or inter-faculty transfer,” she observed.

The Committee on Education resolved to conduct a public inquiry into the allegations and make recommendations to the House, following a public outcry on alleged irregularities in the exams.

The results announced by Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu on January 20 drew mixed reactions from Kenyans, with some alleging cheating.

This was after schools in some counties recorded what was perceived to be extraordinarily good performances.

Case in point was Nyambaria and Mobamba high schools, both in Nyamira County, which had all their 488 and 388 candidates respectively securing the C+ minimum university entry requirement. Mobamba had a mean score of 5.11 in 2021, which it raised to 9.28 in last year’s exam.

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