Kenya: Alert as cartels target marking centres to influence grades

  Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i visits students at Machakos Girls School before they started their Practical Physics paper of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education in Machakos yesterday. (PHOTO: JOHN MUIA/ STANDARD)

The administrators of this year’s national examinations have said there will be fewer grade As than in previous years, a result of the crackdown on cheating.

At the same time, The Standard has established that security agents are on high alert following confidential reports that examination cartels are now targeting examination markers and marking centres.

Sources said a network of people keen to influence results of the just-concluded national exams are targeting individual markers.

It emerged that after failing to beat the high security intelligence mounted during the administration of the exams; the cartels are scheming to spend huge sums of money to buy favourable grades from the examiners.

Multiple sources – teachers and Government officials – who spoke said the intelligence report has triggered a high-level of alertness, with 'same level of ruthlessness' planned for any person caught in the web.

"It is unfortunate that these cartels cannot give up. They are now running to the marking centres to influence grades," said a senior Government official familiar with the operation.

Credible exam

However, Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said the Government will remain firm in its quest to deliver credible examinations.

He said the same level of strictness employed during the administration of the tests will be extended to marking.

"We are going to maintain the same level of seriousness and supervision when it comes to marking," said Matiang'i.

Without revealing the cartels' mode of operation, the official said some group of persons had attempted to infiltrate the marking centres.

"This time, they will not succeed and the sooner they keep off the better. They will be jailed," said the official.

Speaking yesterday in Machakos during the close of the month-long exercise, Matiang'i said examinations are not complete until results are processed and released.

"We want a credible exam all through, and a credible exam is not one because of administration alone but by preparations, setting administration, marking and organising the results," he said.

And speaking in Kisumu,the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) chairman Prof George Magoha said marking will be tightly monitored and supervised, just the way the examination had been guarded.

"I am assuring you that the way this exam is going to be marked, the marks that are going to be recorded, the mark that the student will be awarded is going to be that which he/she will have attained," he said in Kisumu.

Magoha warned people with ill-motive in the marking centres. "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," said Magoha.