Let all Kenyans help build the exam system

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Shimo la Tewa candidates before the start of KCSE 2021 exams at Mombasa County School. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

The ongoing national exams mark an important milestone for the thousands of learners taking them.

They will determine a huge trajectory in their life journey. As such, the exercise calls for the support of all Kenyans of goodwill. Indeed, the country’s future progress and stability will be shaped by the results of the crucial tests.

The results of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam will be released in the coming days, while the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) tests are currently underway. Intended to assess learners’ understanding of what they have spent years studying in school, the tests also determine the transition to the next level of education. It is a historic undertaking for every Kenyan.

This informs of the anxiety that normally grips candidates, their parents, teachers and society as a whole. The temptation to gain an unfair advantage in these tests overcomes some people who try to cheat. Five years ago, escalating cases of cheating threatened exam quality, prompting drastic measures to curb it.

Thanks to increased vigilance, increased monitoring and the goodwill of all stakeholders, cheating has been reduced to a minimum. Cases were spaced out and legitimacy was restored. The Ministry of Education is to be commended for bringing common sense back to the examination system.

Today, we even have the optical mark recognition machine, which notes papers electronically. Previously, all tagging and counting of results was done manually and could take up to two weeks to conclude. This is a big step in the right direction.

However, there remain challenges in the management of exams, which Cabinet Secretary for Education George Magoha and his team must continue to address. For example, three teachers and a security guard were arrested in Makueni County for alleged exam irregularity. Investigators have established that a leaked document in Kiswahili came from the school.

What’s happening is that with the increased use of cellphones, some unscrupulous agents are opening exam papers and taking screenshots, then sharing them with conniving cartels in between or just before tests. the start time. But Prof Magoha assured candidates and Kenyans that the exams had not leaked.

He said the malpractices reported so far occurred after the logs started. He called the cases of early exposure and warned that those who shared the screenshots would be traced and heavily punished according to law.

That said, cheating on an exam or helping the vice is ideally shooting yourself in the foot. If someone passes an exam and is accepted into medicine or aeronautical engineering, you expose yourself and millions of people to quack doctors or faulty planes. It’s best to allow everyone a level playing field and get the best brains for each profession.

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