LETTERS: Action required to curb exam malpractices
If the ministry is serious that there is a cartel, name them and let the media prominently denounce them the way it was done to the ‘cheating’ principals and teachers. Let us have headlines for them and their photos on the front pages of leading newspapers then wait to see if they will remain in the business.
When newspapers gave captivating headlines of the measures the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) took to discipline Principals and teachers accused of having been involved in various exam malpractices last year, it captured the nation as a bold step. Social media and social gatherings were abuzz with excited comments about the good steps. Good they are but still a few questions beg for answers. First, one would wonder why a principal is paid Sh9,000 when the exercise ends well, but loses his job should it not end well. This is beside the backlash and the trauma he goes through.At this time , the students only lose their results and are allowed a second try and life goes on. It’s like it’s the principal who plays and eats exams. Were students were to be taken to court, tried and jailed if found culpable, the narrative would be different. In most cases the students demand and even last year there were cases of students on rampage for having been denied leakage avenues.I wonder the disciplinary measures the ministry took on such. In some cases, the principal would be transferred and the learners left to continue with their lives.
LETTERS: KMTC should style up to remain relevant
The education officers also talk of having dismantled cartels at Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) but we are left asking whom these cartels are and why they are not being made to face the force of the law. Someone may imagine these statements to be side shows meant to divert the attention of the public from the real issues.The fact that the measures which were put to curb cheating survived for a year may mean that even the ‘tougher’ measures they talk of may not be relevant for long. In my suggestion, the following may help us. Let us borrow from the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board (Kasneb), which doesn’t experience cases of widespread cheating in exams.Exams are done during holidays thus let schools used as examination centres, remain examination centres. As the candidates register for exams, they choose where to sit the exams from so that it’s not obviously those who have been learning there.The principal and the relevant teachers will deal with management issues as the KNEC handles exam administration. If teachers aid cheating because those taking exams are their students, this will be a thing of the past.Secondly, let KNEC deal with supervisors and invigilators in the same manner as other contracted employees. Let them advertise and have those interested apply. Let all them be inducted and the risks and benefits spelt out to them. Let them sign a contract with KNEC, carry the burden and reap the benefits, as they come calling.Thirdly, if KNEC insists on schools remaining centers for those who were learning there, the military style of waking up at ungodly hours risking their lives, crossing swollen rivers and being made the hunted should end. Let the principals and the teachers understand the process they are being taken through, and why they must respond that way.Exams are conducted in schools (Joint Tests, CATs and Terminal) but there are no cheating in which the teachers are implicated. they own the process, and even have structures to make it better. The ministry should get the input of the teachers, together draft the guidelines and implement it collectively.However, when adults are read a to-do list, complete with threats, laws of nature will propel them to want to counter those, to show who’s better. Probably those who have been punished were just unlucky to have been found out, the list may be longer. Let the students also understand the basis of schooling and the virtues in honesty.When everyone embraces the same, with the learners aware of the penalty awaiting them, cheating will be leprosy. However, so long as it’s principals and teachers losing their jobs as the learners continue, there is no risk thus they will always try.Next, if the ministry is serious that there is a cartel, name them and let the media prominently denounce them the way it was done to the ‘cheating’ principals and teachers. Let us have headlines for them and their photos on the front pages of leading newspapers then wait to see if they will remain in the business.