Kenyan government disbands examination council over cheating scandal

THE BUCK STOPS WITH ME: Kenyan Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i

THE BUCK STOPS WITH ME: Kenyan Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i

The Kenyan government has dissolved the country’s National Examination Council board following reports of massive cheating and exam leakage recorded during last year’s examinations.

Acting on the fact that 46 out of 47 counties registered cheating cases in 2015 primary school national examinations, Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Thursday fired the council’s entire board.

Announcing the ministry’s stern decision, the cabinet secretary called for fresh vetting of all senior staff in a bid to determine their suitability for the high ranking positions they hold. He went on to rule out any transfer of education officers to other stations, noting that the transfers are used as a conduit pipe for masquerading errant officers.

The council board members terminated in the corrective measure include Chief Executive Officer Dr. Joseph Kivilu, Ambia G. Noor, Maundu Mantenzawa, Thomas McKenzie, Sarah Majani, Bobby Nyagah Mwai, Geoffrey Gitogo, Michael Ndua and Richard Mwangangi. Former University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof. George Magoha, has been appointed chairperson of the scandal-plagued board.

“A lot of good work is going to happen. We promised action and we will work,” Education Cabinet Secretary Matiang’i said.
The decision to sack the top officials was arrived at after a thorough review carried out by both ministries of education, and that of Interior and Coordination of National Government Joseph Nkaissery, the latter’s Cabinet Secretary vowed the masterminds of the widespread cheating will be brought to justice.

“I wish to start by saying that we are here to support the Education Ministry to reduce the level of criminality in KNEC,” Nkaissery noted adding that “if the officials have not been arrested, they should immediately report to any police station.”

In October last year, a member of the committee for education in parliament Kisoi Munyao filed a motion in the August house, calling for the dissolution of the entire Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) leadership, arguing that the body had failed terribly in not only managing but ensuring transparency and integrity is observed in national examinations. At least 5000 students have had their results cancelled in last year’s examinations due to cheating allegations.

Kilemi Mwiria, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s advisor on education, recently said that cheating in Kenyan schools an epidemic because it involves not only students but teachers and parents as well.

“This is a reflection of our society, we glorify thieves, young people say they will do anything to make it,” Mwiria was quoted as saying by a local television station  earlier this month adding that “Everybody steals from the other one — the pastors are stealing from their flock, the policemen are stealing from everybody else … and that is what the young people see and everybody seems to believe you have to cheat to succeed.”