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Parents to be punished for students caught cheating

Irene Githinji @gitshee

The noose continues to tighten around national examination malpractices with the Education ministry flexing its muscles to choke the monster of cheating that has created false illusions of the value of certificates earned from learning institutions. 

In the latest such measure, parents too, will now bear the pain — being personally held responsible if their children, sitting national examinations, are found engaging in malpractices, including possession of mobile phones in school.

Making the announcement yesterday and as exams kick off later this month, Education Cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed also banned parents from visiting children in boarding schools for the rest of this term. 

To safeguard the future of learners who might be tempted to cheat, the CS warned of dire consequences for parents and teachers found assisting such candidates. 

To the candidates hoping to digitally beat the stringent measures rolled out to guard the sanctity of the exams, Amina warned that candidates caught with phones will not only be suspended from school, but will be disqualified altogether from ever sitting the council’s exams.  Amina said only centre managers will be allowed to have mobile phones during the exam period.

Her announcements are part of a raft of measures the ministry has put in place to curb cheating, even as it was  revealed that fake examination papers are circulating on social media platforms with some schools, parents and teachers collecting money to compromise the management and administration of the exams.   

She spoke after meeting with officials from Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec), Kenya National Parents Association (NPA) and Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA) in Nairobi.

With just three weeks remaining before national exams begin on October 28, the CS said the  ministry has finalised plans to deliver the examinations to 1,060,759 KCPE and 664,586 KCSE candidates this year.

She assured that the ministry will be fair and just in administering exams to ensure all candidates score the grades they deserve.

“Over the next two weeks, the ministry will work round the clock to ensure all examination materials are delivered to the 459 containers across the country in readiness for the examinations,” the CS affirmed.

So far, the ministry has placed 30 centres under intensive surveillance and those found culpable will be apprehended, charged and deregistered.

Knec chairman Prof George Magoha reiterated that the exam process is sacrosanct, has not been leaked and wondered why some parents choose to believe cartels.

Magoha urged parents to stop giving money to their children to buy fake papers, saying there is an escalation of the purchase of fake papers and ominously warned; “Stop the nonsense, if you think you have enough energy, try.” 

He said in last year’s national exams, Sh25 million was used to protect exams, which should not be the case.

Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said it was unfortunate the ministry spends so much to protect exams, money that would otherwise have gone to other development projects.

“As accounting officer, we release so much resources to protect our children from ourselves — parents and teachers — in managing the process of exam,” said Kipsang.

At least Sh4.3 billion has been used for the entire examination process.

The meeting also resolved that NPA and Boards of Management liaise with security teams to reign in parents and schools that may have collected money  to facilitate cheating in the examinations.

Private school managers are to ensure that teachers who will participate in the examinations as science teachers to aid in practical subjects are registered with the TSC.   

She said the ministry has completed auditing all candidates recently displaced in Nairobi, Narok and Nakuru.

“We wish to announce that we have placed all the candidates in accessible neighbouring schools from where they will sit the examinations,” the CS assured.

NPA chairman Nicholas Maiyo reiterated the need for exams integrity and challenged parents to desist from abetting or condoning exam malpractice. 

“As parents, we should believe in our children and note that their success in life is not limited to how they perform in exams,” he said.

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