Nicholas Letting, the CEO of the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board, has proposed that the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) should involve officers from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the vetting of examiners before their employment.
This measure aims to uphold a high standard of integrity in the examination marking process.
Letting suggested that NIS officers should operate covertly, occasionally posing as candidates, to identify instances of examination irregularities and cheating.
As part of the recommendations presented in a report by MP Julius Melly, Chairman of the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Education, Letting proposes the disabling of mobile networks in areas prone to cheating. This is to minimize exam leakage through mobile phones.
He also advocates for benchmarking with successful examination bodies like KASNEB and HRMPEB in managing examinations effectively.
Letting emphasized the need to blacklist students who impersonate others, aiming to deter this practice in future exams.
He also stressed the necessity of automating examinations in the future, incorporating computer-based exams allowing for real-time marking.
The committee in January this year moved to investigate following outcries that the 2022 KCSE witnessed a lot of malpractices.
Exam malpractices included collusion, mobile phone use, impersonation, unauthorized material smuggling, leakage, and plagiarism, among other techniques.
In light of their findings, the committee recommends a review of the existing legal framework, seeking stiffer penalties to deter examination offenses. They also urge Parliament to address new offenses emerging from malpractices linked to Information Communication and Technology and social media platforms.
Starting the 2024/2025 examination cycle, the Teacher Service Commission (TSC) should consider additional parameters like discipline, infrastructure development, co-curricular activities, and teachers’ personal development as part of the promotion requirements for teachers, as per the committee’s report.
The committee also calls for an increase in funding to KNEC for the years 2024/2025 and beyond, to ensure adequate financing for essential activities such as competitive and timely remuneration of examiners, transportation of examination materials and personnel, and provision of suitable accommodation for examiners at marking centers.