Society / Education
Thursday, 29 Dec 2016 17:47 EATrosemukonyo@yahoo.com
This year's KCSE results have been released barely a month after candidates sat the exam between 7th and 30th November. Addressing the nation from Shimo La Tewa Secondary School in Mombasa, Education cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi was all praise for the reforms he instituted in the national examination system this year.
Kenyans were also left reeling under the shock of drastically declined performance in the exam, which showed a 95 percent drop in the number of candidates who scored grade A. While 2,636 candidates scored the grade in 2015, only 141 could manage it this year, raising questions about the credibility of the results the national matriculation council KNEC has been declaring for years. In 2014 exams, 2,722 candidates got the grade, as did 3,073 candidates a year earlier.
At Moi High School Kabarak, only two students scored grade A, compared to 200 in last year's exams. Many national schools such as Maseno School, Lenana and Limuru Girls had no A grade. In order of the top performers, Mang'u High School produced 39 As, Alliance High School 25, Kenya High 24, Chavakali Boys 23, Nairobi School 10, Rang'ala 4, Starehe and Maranda had three each, Nyamira High, Moi High Kabarak, Booker High and Muranga High had two each, while Kakamega High and Mbale High had one candidate each scoring the grade. Of the top 20 students, only four were boys.
Only 88,928 candidates attained C+ and above, the minimum grade for admission into government-supported education in public universities, compared to 169,492 last year. As the institutions admitted a similar number of students last year, all the candidates who have attained the grade will be admitted into the campuses in 2017, ending a 25-year hiatus that saw the government enrol only a fraction of qualified students, with many left to join more expensive private colleges.
The cabinet secretary assured Kenyans there were no irregularities noted and 577,253 students who sat for this KCSE exam were going to receive their results. This is as a result of the stringent measures the government had to put in place after massive cases of exam cheating were reported in 2015. It was a sorry state of affairs where 5,101 students failed to get their results breaking the record of exam malpractices over the years.
Following the Dr Matiangi-led reforms, KNEC put in place guidelines to ensure no exam malpractices would be reported this year key among them being exam papers would no longer be stored in police stations but in the Sub County Offices where papers would be stored in special containers to be opened in the presence of Sub County Officials, the exam officers and a police officer. The headteachers would then sign documents indicating exam papers had not been tampered with. "It is a result of these measures that this year's results can be qualified as credible," Dr Matiangi said.
The CS commended Alliance Girls High School and Kenya High School for their consistency in their performance quoting previous years' performance. He however condemned those schools which produced a very high number of As in 2015 but could not produce even 20 this year. With 16 of the top 20 students being girls, the CS urged boys to pull up their socks and actively compete with their counterparts.
According to TSC CEO Nancy Macharia, exam cheating had been rampant in Kenyan Schools and this had been the cause why students in other classes would not concentrate in class, quoting a letter written to the TSC and copied to the Ministry of Education by a class room teacher who said it was indeed true teachers had aided in the exam malpractices. "However this year's exam results are quite credible and I assure everyone that they are full of integrity," Ms Macharia said.
She asked teachers to inculcate integrity, honesty transparency and hard work in the students to produce people who are credible and to be relied upon in the society. She also said reforms will be made in the TSC regarding exam supervision in the field as Kenyans were looking for accountability from teachers. "It is in the interest of the TSC to have results that have credibility that is why we will render an equivocal support all efforts directed at institutionalizing integrity in the country's examinations," Ms Macharia said.
She however cautioned the teachers who benefitted from fraudulent results stating they must be ready to suffer consequences. "It will be no longer business as usual, everyone must be accountable and credible," she added.
Rose is a contributing writer for the Kenya Free Press, based in Machakos County.