By Sam Mburu K.
Examination irregularities have been rampant in both KCSE and KCPE. 2015 examination was marred with several cases of irregularities that attracted public outcry. During the examination nearly 50 students, teachers, university students and policemen were arrested and about 30 mobile phones confiscated from students. Over 5000 individual results were canceled.
Due to increase in exams cheating, Education cabinet secretary DR Fred Matiangi has crafted some means to curb the irregularity .The question that now lingers on many Kenyan minds is whether these methods will curtail examination irregularities.
Dr Matiangi started by banning all social activities that happen in third term. These activities include; visiting days, mid-term breaks, sports, prize giving ceremonies, Annual parents’ day, among others. This is mainly to cut contact between students and outsiders. This is because parentS were said to provide their children with examination leakages. CS Matiangi also shortened the period for the KCSE examinations from 6 to 4 weeks. Those sitting for KCPE this year will start on 1st November and finish on the 3rd of November, while form four candidates will start on November 7th and finish on November 30th.
Another method put in place to curb examination cheating is putting heads of schools in charge of the examinations in their school. This is to ensure that they prevent irregularities and take full control of their own school. In case any cheating occurs, they will take ful responsibility. Heads of schools will work concurrently with supervisors and invigilators who will be vetted by Teacher Service Commission to ensure they do not have any criminal records.
To accommodate these changes, term two, which was initially scheduled to end on 5th August has been extended to end on 12th August. Consequently, the August holiday has been shortened from 4 to 2 weeks. Third term will last only for 9 weeks from the previous 12week; beginning from 29th August and ending on 28th October.
Cutting contact between students and outside world will partially reduce examination irregularities especially for those parents who purchase examination papers for their children. However, with availability of smart phones, this method may not be fully effective, unless thorough search of students is done to ensure no one is in possession of phones. Unfortunately, this may not apply for day school students. Exam irregularities will be shifted to day scholars who will continue to enjoy full freedom as usual.
Putting heads of schools to man examinations in their own schools is a well calculated move to curb examination irregularities but may also have some repercussions. Some heads of schools help students to cheat so that their schools may rise to the top. Last year there was a case of five primary schools whose head teachers were found guilty of assisting pupils in cheating.
However, we hope that examination glory which was diminishing will be uplifted upon implementation of Dr Matiangi’s rules. Teachers should be very vigilant with students to ensure they don’t smuggle in phones that aid in examinations malpractices.