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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Kenya: Exams to Go On As Scheduled, Says Kenya National Examinations Council

"The examinations council has ruled out the possibility of suspending national exams, putting on a brave face despite extensive evidence of cheating." continues

On Saturday, the Kenya National Examinations Council boss Joseph Kivilu brushed aside pressure from the clergy and the political class to call off the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations.

Critics say the integrity of the process has been compromised and the exams should be pushed to early next year.

"I wish to assure Kenyans that the examinations are secure and will continue as scheduled. All the papers were successfully done despite the alleged unauthorised release of papers done this week," he declared.

The step by the council came after lengthy discussions amid reports that the option of cancelling the exercise was fast gaining currency in the ministry of education corridors.

The move would have been the first case in the country's history in which national exams had been pushed forward.

The Knec boss, on Saturday, was adamant that what had been circulating were not genuine exam papers.

Despite Dr Kivilu's assertions, some of the questions that have been circulated before exams turned out to be genuine.

In the course of the week, reporters from the Daily Nation bought questions for the Mathematics paper, which the seller said would be administered on Thursday.

The questions were sold for Sh1,000 and some aligned with the actual examination.

Dr Kivilu also warned students who could have benefited from cheating that they would be exposed during marking.

"Our examiners will be extra keen to single out coached answers. We have a foolproof method of detecting cheating. I wish to assure the Cabinet and Kenyan public that the council is always concerned about the issues of validity and reliability of national exams. We will do what is within our powers to ensure examinations remain credible," he said...

Such a move could plunge the future of about 500,000 candidates into uncertainty and confusion.

The assurance by the exam boss means the candidates will sit Mathematics paper II Monday as planned followed by History paper I and Agriculture paper I on Tuesday.

Other examinations lined up for the week are Chemistry paper I, General Science, Religious education, Kiswahili and Physics.

Reports of widespread cheating in the ongoing examinations have triggered serious questions over whether teachers could be sabotaging the process after government refused to pay them their September salaries following a work stoppage...

In the Kenyan system of education, the one-off KCSE exam is the ultimate decider of the path a student will take after high school.

Courses such as medicine, engineering and actuarial science absorb students with straight As.
Those who unfairly obtain question papers spend sleepless nights cramming answers to the questions.