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Monday, March 24, 2008

Students awarded grades for exams they never sat

Publication Date: 3/24/2008

Some students who did not sit last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination were awarded impressive mean grades, the Nation has learnt.

The principal of Thurdibuoro Secondary school in Nyando District, Mr Alfred Ochiel, said one of his students who did not attempt the exams was graded.

“This candidate in my school abandoned the exams midway. Normally, such candidates are not graded but KNEC decided to give him a D+,” he said.

Teachers interviewed who did not want their names mentioned said they knew of a student in a city school who was awarded A- mean grade though he did not sit the exam.

Another candidate in the city who was disqualified after being caught cheating was later given a B+ score by the examination council.

The outcry over the integrity of the examination council compelled Education minister Sam Ongeri to form a 15 member committee chaired by Kenyatta University vice-chancellor Oliver Mugenda to investigate the results.

In Rongo, a candidate who was expelled from school and did not turn up for the exams was awarded an A-.

His head teacher was shocked to learn that the boy had “passed” so highly.

Education PS Karega Mutahi has downplayed the gravity of the matter.

Knec secretary Paul Wasanga said the anomalies will be part of the investigations. He said the team should be given a chance to unearth the details about the computer error or any other cause of the cheating”.

Mr Wasanga said with 276,000 candidates, each sitting 22 papers, such mistakes were bound to happen and if discovered the matter will be dealt with accordingly.

He said results for candidates who did not sit exams could have been released if other students erred by shading wrong index numbers.

However, the examinations chief said he could not rule out anomalies.

Mr Wasanga accused some principals of malice for “releasing result slips to the wrong hands and then turning to condemn Knec which they form part of as de facto officials.”

He said some candidates could have forgotten their index numbers and marked wrong ones therefore enabling the computer memory to produce results in the programmed formula.

He explained that the committee would investigate in detail the errors because in some instances, candidates who sat half the exams or did not complete due to unknown reasons also got results.

A principal said one set of results was given in February and another one in March when those who did not sit exams were awarded mean grades.

Kenya Post Primary Education Teachers Union secretary general Wanyonyi Buteyo said they would move to court to have the council dissolved because it had compromised the integrity of the country’s academic standards and certificates.

Mr Buteyo said the minister was delaying justice but forming a probe committee in a clear case of incompetence.