According to the national testing organization, the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam for 2022 was kept private.
Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec), David Njeng’ere, claimed that parents were tricked into purchasing phony exams.
He claimed that fraudulent exam materials were what appeared on social media.
Before being grilled by the National Assembly Education committee on Thursday, Njeng’ere spoke at the Pride Inn Paradise Hotel.
Ezekiel Machogu, the cabinet secretary for education, and Belio Kipsang, the principal secretary for primary education, were also interrogated.
The Tinderet MP, Julius Melly-led committee, was looking into cheating claims in the 2022 KCSE.
“We will share the social media sites that claim to have those genuine examination papers. Parents pay money to rogue agents after being made to believe those sharing the papers are Knec officers. They are not,” said Njeng’ere.
Njeng’ere said a limited number of people usually access national examination papers once set.
“People cannot access examination papers prior,” the CEO told the committee.
“Enter the social media sites claiming to have this year’s exam, get those papers, and keep them. Wait for November and compare them with the actual papers,” Njeng’ere said.
On claims that some examination center managers, who are the principals of the schools, had prior knowledge of what practicals would be done, the CEO acknowledged that the council usually sends advance instruction to schools.
However, these instructions only direct the center managers to prepare some solutions and other reagents or instruments in parcels marked confidential.
“These advance instructions do not come with questions that candidates will be given,” said the CEO, adding that some principals share the instructions with people misleading the masses.
He said there is only one way other than to send advance instructions to ask schools to prepare for the practicals.
He defended the council against claims of weaponization of the examination, with legislators and some parents taking issue with the deployment of heavy security around examination areas.
Njeng’ere said the multi-agency approach to examination was introduced in the 2016 reforms to bring back the credibility of national examinations.
Machogu and Dr. Kipsang said the ministry proposes amendments to the Knec Act of 2012 to include the 2016 reforms, saying most of the things brought about by the reforms are yet to be anchored in law.
According to the Act, exam papers are supposed to be kept in police armories.
However, after the 2016 reforms, containers were introduced to keep exam papers.
Marakwet West MP Timothy Kipchumba accused Knec of becoming a law unto itself and suggested the establishment of a Kenya National Examination Regulatory Authority to keep the exam body in check.
But Njeng’ere said the council had not done anything outside the law and hence cannot be said to have become a law unto itself.
“We have not at any point exceeded the powers given to us in law,” he noted.
He said the council was financially constrained and called on the MPs to lobby for more budget allocation.
“Before 2016, Knec used to collect examination fees from learners, and these were used for the administration of the exams. However, this was scrapped, and the government took over the costs.