The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) 2021 National Examination kicked off on smoothly across the 105 exam centres in Kwale County without any hitches.
A spot check by KNA in some exam centres in Kwale town show there was thorough frisking of students before and after entering the examination rooms to curb cases of cheating and malpractices.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Staffing Officer for Coast Region, Wairimu Ngugi, who supervised examination distribution at the Matuga Deputy County Commissioner’s office, said all loopholes that have been resulting in exam cheating have been sealed.
She said heavy security arrangements were in place at all the exam centres noting that strict action would be taken against anyone found indulging in exam malpractice and irregularities.
“We will take severe action against individuals and institutions that abet exam irregularities and we have asked invigilators and supervisors not to take their cell phones into the exam halls” she said.
Ngugi said so far they are satisfied with the kick off adding that the commission has offered substantive training to supervisors and exam managers thus guaranteeing the public a smooth exercise.
“We are prepared for this exercise and all critical issues that could lead to exam cheating were identified and addressed. We have held many forums with our staff about exams and we hope all shall be well,” Ngugi said.
The TSC staffing officer sounded a warning that the commission shall cancel the results of students and examination centers where cases of malpractices shall be identified.
“The commission has extended its surveillance and all attempts of malpractices shall be identified and appropriate action shall be taken. We want supervisors to ensure that no candidate has a mobile phone,” Ngugi added.
She said a total of 8,969 candidates which comprises 4,368 boys and 4,601 girls are writing the national exam in the coastal county.
Ngugi hailed parents and education stakeholders in the county for prioritizing girl child education.
Kwale County TSC Director Elias Gitonga, hailed the county for being a role model in following exam rules and regulations.
He said for the last five years the county has not recorded even a single case of exam irregularity.
“Kwale is a county that we believe and trust and we encourage parents and all stakeholders to maintain the spirit of truthfulness and honesty. We are happy that Kwale is not a hotspot to exam cheating and we are remaining vigilant to safeguard that reputation,” Gitonga said.
County Police Commander, Steve Oloo, said the national examination set off amid tight security to curb cases of cheating and other malpractices and irregularities.
Oloo said security has been enhanced in all exam centres.
He added that security personnel from different ranks have been deployed across the county to oversee exam.
“This is a multi-agency approach and we have security teams from the National Police Service, the Department of Correctional Services, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), and the National Youth Service to offer maximum security to the exercise. They shall monitor this national test closely and deal with any strange cases that might affect the credibility of these exams,’’Oloo said.
The police boss disclosed that there was panic when one of the carton boxes carrying the exams appeared damaged.
He added that officials from the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) officials confirmed that the damage occurred during packaging and transportation and the white paper covering the question papers remained intact.
However, one female student will take exams from Kwale Women Prison after being charged with school arson in 2021.
Three female students were arrested last year following the school unrest but two were bailed out and they will be writing their exams in their respective centers.
Further, County Education Quality Assurance Officer, Hellen Arunga, said the construction of the Competency Based Classrooms (CBC) is on course.
Arunga said the completion rate is at 67 percent and more completed classrooms shall be commissioned soon.
She urged the contractors to meet the deadline to accommodate the first bunch of CBC students who will be joining junior secondary school in January 2023.
By Raymond Zaka and Hussein Abdullahi