• In the just released Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination for 2015, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said with regret that the exam results for more than 5,000 students suspected to have been involved in cheating have been cancelled.

    The Education Cabinet Secretary made the announcement Thursday while releasing the 2015 KCSE results.

    The 2015 KCSE exam had the highest ever recorded examination malpractices with 5,101 candidates compared to 2,975 in 2014. These incidences represent 71.4% - the highest in the last decade.

    “Results for all candidates who were involved in examination irregularities have been cancelled as it is our duty to the diligent candidates who do not involve themselves in examination irregularities to ensure that results are credible,” said Dr Matiang’i.

    The KCSE exam was preceded by a teachers’ strike that lasted eight weeks. By the time the candidates sat for the exams, alleged copies of the test papers were doing the rounds on social media, preparing the stage for the high number of exam misconducts recorded.

    In 2015, a total of 525,802 candidates sat their KCSE exams, representing 8.3% increase from 485,547 in the previous year.

    Dr Matiang’i said that investigations over the irregularities were being conducted. “The President gave us (Matiang’i and Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery) until March 30 to conclude investigations and make recommendations on how to remedy the situation,” the Education CS said.

    Already, 171 people have been arrested and charged in connection with the cheating; 34 of whom are teachers.

    On his part, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) secretary general Wilson Sossion argued that students should not be punished for cheating, instead, the real offenders should face the law.

    "Cases of cheating should be reviewed. We must not punish the students, for cheating is a societal problem that needs to be addressed. Punish the actual culprits," he said.

    He added that the teachers’ strike over basic salary increment did not cause the cheating.

    Even so, he argued that the curriculum was affected by the eight-week strike adding that they (KNUT) asked the minister to reschedule the exam.

    KNUT secretary general assured parents and students that officials will ensure there are no irregularities in the 2016 exam.

    According to Matiang’i all 47 counties except one, Isiolo County, had reported cases of exam irregularities with the highest number of incidences being in Nairobi, Meru and Makueni.

    Science, Geography, Art and Design, Mathematics, Building and Construction, Power Mechanics and German subjects recorded an improvement in performance.

    Following the ban of ranking schools and candidates in national examinations in 2014 to curb cut-throat competition and consequently cheating, the minister did not release any breakdown of the best performing student or school.

    A third of those who sat the 2015 exam have qualified for university, Matiang'i noted. He said this was a 31.52 percent improvement from 2014.

    Image Credit: kbctv.co.ke