August 16th 2017

Society / Education

Several principals interdicted, others seek transfers as Matiangi’s exam rules bite top schools

The Kenya Free Press has also authoritatively learnt that a number of principals of top performing schools including Alliance High School have sought transfers from the schools in anticipation of declined performance in this year’s examinations.

By Phillip MuleeWednesday, 16 Nov 2016 19:17 EAT

Students of Alliance High School celebrate a past good performance.

Several secondary school principals have been interdicted after being implicated in malpractices in the ongoing Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations. The Kenya Free Press has also authoritatively learnt that a number of principals of top performing schools including Alliance High School have sought transfers from the schools in anticipation of declined performance in this year’s examinations.

The Ministry of Education implemented tough regulations for invigilation of this year’s national examinations at the primary and secondary levels, and preliminary checks indicate that national and top county schools, which always had lax supervision of candidates, have been most affected. The chairman of the Kenya National Examinations Council Prof. George Magoha, has served as a resident supervisor at Moi High School Kabarak throughout the examination period, while other top ministry and KNEC officials served at Maseno, Mangu, Maranda, Starehe Boys and Nairobi School among others.

At one top school, students could hardly settle to write answers for the Chemistry paper, according to a well-placed source who participated in the invigilation. As a result of the tough rules, some principals of heretofore top-flight schools have asked to be transferred during the Christmas break. The strict measures have substantially curbed the rampant leakage of the examinations, and it has come to the shock of education players that a vast number of officials who attempted to breach the rules are school heads and senior teachers.

The measures which were introduced by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi to seal the loopholes in KCSE cheating have seen a number of principals suspended in such diverse regions as Taita Taveta, Homa Bay and Kisii counties. In Taita Taveta, some supervisors failed to collect mobile phones from class invigilators as required by the regulations. In Homa Bay, a school head arrived inexcusably late for the collection of papers for his school, while in Kisii a school head acquiesced in the opening of test papers marked for afternoon sessions early in the morning. All the breaches were detected by top ministry officials on a tour of the regions to assess adherence to the rules.

Under the new rules, exam materials are kept under lock in containers at sub-county headquarters, with the sub county commissioner and sub-county education director each having a key. Only school heads are authorized to pick the papers for their schools every morning, in the company of supervisors and security officials. Each paper is to be opened only minutes before its planned commencement.

Teachers have tried to subvert the rules by opening papers meant for afternoon sessions in the morning or delaying their arrival at collection points in order to create security lapses. The ministry, KNEC and Teachers Service Commission have cooperated to discipline headteachers and other invigilators who defy these rules on the spot.

Dr Matiangi ordered for the interdiction of a school principal for failing to confiscate mobile phones and locking them from exam invigilators in Voi Sub County. Surprisingly the headteacher who is charged with supervising the exams reported to school late unaware that Dr Mataingi was making an impromptu visit.

Investigations by the Kenya Free Press have confirmed that TSC CEO Ms Nancy Macharia has directed the suspension of Mwangeka Secondary School principal in Wundanyi for failing to follow the laid down exam rules. “Any violation of exam rules will not be tolerated”, said Ms Macharia. At Voi Girls, the supervisor failed also to collect mobile phones from the invigilators.

At Gisero Secondary School in Kisii, the principal had opened the papers meant for afternoon in the morning and signed for them, alleging he had not read the markings on the papers properly. At Kobuya Secondary School, the principal reported to the collection later than expected, claiming he had hit a boda boda (motorcycle taxi) on the way and was delayed addressing the accident.

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