, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – There was an unprecedented increase in the number of students who cheated in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations.
Releasing the 2015 KCSE examination results on Thursday, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said there was about a 70 percent rise in the number of cheating cases witnessed compared to 2014.
“Whereas in 2014, we had 2,975 candidates who were found to have been involved in examination irregularities and their results were cancelled, in 2015 we are cancelling the results of 5,101 candidates.”
Given the high number of cases, Matiang’i said the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) would not cancel the results of schools with cases of cheating “wholesale.”
Instead, he said, the council in collaboration with the Ministry of Education would be setting up a secretariat to address the concerns of those whose results had been cancelled.
Only Isiolo of all 47 counties had no cases of cheating with Nairobi, Makueni and Meru at the opposite end of the spectrum; boasting the highest number of cheats.
Given the worrying figures, Matiang’i said President Uhuru Kenyatta had directed him and his Interior Cabinet Secretary counterpart Joseph Nkaissery to engage education stakeholders on the way forward.
“This is not a laughing matter. This is a very serious situation, very sad. Bottom line is I want to look Kenyans in the face and tell them that as your Minister for Education, I apologise for these irregularities and I promise you I will do my very best, I will give it my all, to ensure that we don’t go this path again (sic).”
Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Wilson Sossion said the figures were hardly surprising given candidates in public schools missed about a month of learning when their teachers went on strike in September last year.
“This is the reason we insisted on the exams being postponed to allow us to properly prepare the candidates. But as usual, the ministry was a know-it-all and didn’t want to be told.”
He said the fact that one percent of the 522,870 candidates who sat their KCSE exams in 2015 felt it was better to cheat and risk getting caught than make an honest effort and fail, was indicative of a larger societal problem and that teachers should not be blamed.
“The Aga Khan University released findings the other day that should concern us greatly. So many youth believe that you cannot succeed honestly in this country.”
READ: Half of Kenyan youth condone corruption – study
President Kenyatta himself, during a visit to Israel last month, said: “All we (Kenyans) do is stealing – this one we have expertise.”