Kenya: Examinations agency tells Kenyans to expect drastic reduction in number of As

Kenyans should expect fewer candidates to attain grade A, examinations board chairman has said. Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) boss George Magoha (right) said the number of students who get the grade will reduce because of tighter quality controls.

He said there will be a total break from the past as marking will be tightly monitored and supervised just the way the examination was guarded.

Prof Magoha spoke in Kisumu Boys' High School yesterday before the start of the final Physics Practical paper where he had made an impromptu visit before proceeding to the adjacent Kisumu Girls' High School then to Kakamega.

"The reason why you have seen a lot of Government involvement is because we have gotten into a stage where Kenyan examination papers are being questioned elsewhere and holders even re-examined elsewhere. That is to say that our certificates papers are about to become worthless," he revealed.

He added that in any population, the 'A materials' fall between five and 10 per cent, and therefore Kenya being a normal country cannot keep producing so many A's that surpass what would be in a normal distribution curve.

"Anything outside that bracket (of 5-10 per cent) is suspicious or extraordinary and for a school to have 96.6 per cent scoring A, then that is stupidity of the highest level and nobody should be associated with such," Magoha said.

He said Kenyans' obsession with A grade had pushed the matter too far, making even those who do not have the capacity to strive by hook or crook to get an A.

"For our country we have over-emphasised on individual 'letter performances' which are just letters," he said.

Regarding the marking of examinations and the fear of doctoring of the results, Magoha was categorical that Knec would ensure that very child gets what is due to him or her.

"As I said that the exam shall not leak, I am assuring you again that the way this exam is going to be marked, the marks that are going to be recorded, is going to be the mark that the student has attained," he said.

He added: "We are going to use a conveyor belt system, where if 10 people have marked your paper, there would be no need for remarking. And for those who will be going to the marking centres with other ideas of stealing exams, don't destroy your career as (we) have sealed all the loopholes."

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers Secretary General Akello Misori urged Knec to weed culprits at the ICT department who doctor results.

"Knec must enhance the capacity of the ICT department and closely monitor some culprits who have been at the centre of doctoring results to ensure that particular schools get highest grades," Mr Misori said.

He praised Knec and the Education ministry for waging a war against examination cheating.

"The work done by (Education Cabinet Secretary Fred) Matiangi, Magoha and the team is remarkable as this is a step towards bringing back the glory our national examinations were losing pretty fast," he opined.

Meanwhile, Nyanza region for the first time in years recorded fewer cases of irregularities in KCSE, with 15 arrests made.

According to Regional Education Co-ordinator Richard Chepkawai, the exercise was above board, except for the few arrests and normal hitches also witnessed in other areas, which included death of candidates and deliveries.