The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) and the Ministry of Education officials have come under scrutiny after new evidence emerged suggesting they may have conspired to leak national exams for financial benefit.
Members of Parliament, the Director of Criminal Investigation (DCI), and the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) recently had a meeting where they established that government officials had set up social media accounts to disseminate exam questions for monetary gain.
In total, 49 social media accounts were created and activated to facilitate the distribution of exam materials.
After the meeting, Julius Melly, chairman of the education committee in the National Assembly, said that the DCI had pinpointed specific officials from KNEC and CAK as being complicit in aiding exam leakages.
Melly held off on publicizing their identities at the moment, but promised that they would be made public before the month’s end, when the committee would give its findings to Parliament.
Melly stressed that the evidence revealed during the closed-door meeting exposed high-ranking persons and revealed significant shortcomings in the examination system.
“We have obtained valuable information that pertains to various sectors within the Ministry of Education. We have uncovered how individuals established social media platforms and the type of information they disseminated,” He stated.
He further stated that the committee intends to propose drastic reforms concerning examination management, supervision, and penalties for leaks, early exposure of exams, collaboration, and impersonation.
“The DCI provided us with additional information on the culprits involved. They pointed out individuals who established social media platforms and used multiple accounts, which involved substantial amounts of money. We were informed about the financial transactions that took place through M-PESA and bank accounts, which eventually benefited these individuals,” Melly explained.
During the meeting, it was revealed that out of the 49 accounts, 22 Facebook accounts and 13 Telegram accounts were registered under the name of KNEC, while the rest were associated with different individuals.
Some of the fraudulent Telegram accounts that remain active include “knecleakage2022,” “KNEC EXAMS,” “kncep,” and “kcseleaks001,” among others. Among the deactivated accounts are “Kneclkg,” “KCSEANDKCPE EXAMS,” “Kcse2021leaks,” and “knecpapers22.”
On Facebook, some of the accounts involved in the malpractice include “KNEC PAST papers,” “kcse Past Papers And Marking Schemes,” “KNEC Standard Notes and Past Papers –TVET,” and “KCSE Leakage,” among others.
In early December of the previous year, David Njengere, the CEO of KNEC, expressed concern about the early exposure of national examination papers on social media platforms. He sought assistance in taking down Telegram channels and Facebook forums that were involved in exam malpractice.
Njengere held meetings and corresponded with the authority to establish a multi-agency team consisting of the Council, CAK, and the ICT Authority to combat this form of malpractice.
“Some unscrupulous individuals have developed a habit of accessing examination papers once they have been collected from the containers and capturing photos to share them on social media platforms,” Njengere explained.
Ezra Chiloba, the CEO of CAK, highlighted the challenges in dealing with platforms like Telegram and Signal, as they offered strong end-to-end encryption, self-destructing messages, and anonymous registration capabilities, which made it difficult to trace individuals involved in these illicit activities.