August 10, 2022

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Why there is need to enhance scrutiny to curb cheating in exams

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The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination candidates are almost half-way through the tests that will mark a major stage in their lives. For that reason, the young men and women must be enabled to give the exam their best shot.

However, there has been a spike in alleged cases of exam cheating in the past few days with online platforms being used to illegally distribute the test papers at a fee.

This has led to the arrest of some school principals, invigilators and candidates. Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, while acknowledging some malpractices, has made it quite clear that the integrity of this year’s exam remains intact.

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Although at least 70 incidents have been reported, Prof Magoha insists that they were mere attempts at cheating that were detected and stopped. Education Principal Secretary Julius Jwan, like his boss, says no papers have leaked but said breaches by some centre managers were swiftly dealt with.

This vigorous defence of the management of the exams by the two top-most Education officials is proof of a determination to ensure exams are efficiently administered.

The country would not wish for a return to the horrible past when exam papers were hawked like mandazi by crooks in cahoots with wayward Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) officials. It took a strident campaign to eliminate the vice.

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Investigations have uncovered the use of mobile phones and online forums such as WhatsApp and Telegram to illegally send the tests to some candidates prematurely. Officials have since strictly enforced the mobile phone ban.

Working with Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives, they have had university students impersonating candidates arrested and broken up a syndicate of illegal exam paper sales.

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