The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) has kicked off today across the country with the education Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’ saying that the ministry has put in place tough reform measures to eliminate the rampant cheating that has characterized national exams in the country year on end. 577,253 candidates will be sitting for the examination in 9,158 centers across the country amid a heightened security.
Exam cheating has been a major issue in the country with thousands of candidates having had their results cancelled last year due to the malpractice and the ministry was forced to come up with new regulations to curb cheating in national exams.
The rate of irregularities witnessed in the 2015 KCSE exams was 70 per cent higher than the previous year’s.
The 2016 National Examination questions set by the previous team were also discarded in April and a (KNEC) team hired work on fresh questions.
Under the new Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) regulations, supervisors and invigilators were vetted by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to ensure they have no criminal record before they were cleared to take part.
To stop teachers from colluding with candidates to cheat, Matiang’i also announced that head teachers will now be contracted (KNEC to supervise exam centers and they will hence take full responsibility and accountability for any exam malpractices that may be reported in their centers.
Matiang’i also banned visiting days and mid-term in third term to minimize communication between candidates and outsiders and also shortened the term to two months such that November will be strictly an exam month with only candidates allowed in school.
Cheating cases will also attract stiff penalties, and those impersonating candidates would be fined Sh2 million or risk a two-year jail term or both.
The CS today supervised the opening of a container with the exam papers in Murang’a County, as KNEC Chairman Professor George Magoha did the same in Nakuru.