The Distinction Educational Publishers have distanced themselves from the KCPE 2020 scandal where the English question paper matched one of its papers which was published in Febrauary just a month before the national exam.
The publishers said that all they do is release tests that are used to analyse the students’ preparedness and have nothing to do with the setting of the national exams.
“If KNEC used our content, then we don’t have any issue with them. Our books have been used for the past years,” a director at the company said.
Education CS George Magoha is still adamant that no leakage had occurred while addressing the press on Wednesday, March 24.
Magoha had earlier on warned private schools, suppliers, police officers, teachers and students of exams cheating.
“This ministry will not take cheating lightly, and this is why we are sending a warning to all those planning to confuse our children or parents that the full force of the law will be used against those found culpable,” said Magoha.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion and teachers exposed how a blunder by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) led to the leakage of KCPE exams.
Teachers said that KNEC lifted Social Studies and English exams from two books that had been widely circulated to Class 8 candidates prior to sitting the exams in March 2021.
Teachers have also lamented over exam that was unsually full of errors.
Some teachers said the Science paper had a question with wrong key and distractors while others said there were errors in other papers too.
The candidates, mostly those in private schools had already done the tests in February 2021 after purchasing the books published by Distinction Educational Publishers.
“When a similar test is predicted and it appears in the KNEC exams, then it shows there was a leakage. The credibility and reliability of national exams is tarnished,” Sossion told the Nation on Thursday, March 25.
“Even though exams are set from learning material available, KNEC going on to publish the same tests indicates that we have a serious issue with our exam process,” Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) Secretary-General, Akelo Misori added.
Exam stakeholders thus raised various questions among them being whether KNEC tendered the publishers to set the exams as well as how the council will rectify the error as schools that had done the tests before now have a wide advantage.
Education stakeholders said that they would keenly follow the developments to see whether Magoha would take action against KNEC. The council said that it would issue a statement on the matter.
Marking of the KCPE tests began on Thursday, March 25, with Magoha shifting focus to the KCSE exams which commence on Friday, March 26.
KCSE 2020 exams began on Friday across the country, with 751,150 candidates eligible to write the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) tests.
The candidates will start with English functional skills testing at 8am and later write English comprehension, literary appreciation and grammar tests in the afternoon.
Here is a round-up of how the day one of the examinations kicked off.
In Kisii, Education CS Prof George Magoha supervised the distribution of test papers at the county commissioner offices.
He said no cheating has been detected so far and that officials are closely monitoring schools in Kisii, Migori and Homa Bay counties.
Kenya Secondary School Heads Association national chairman Kahi Indimuli had said Sh7.5 billion released this week has allowed headteachers to prepare for the examinations.
“Those who had taken examination items on loan have paid; those who had not purchased any materials for practical subjects can also do so,” said Indimuli.
He added: “Some schools had run out of food and this was a major setback especially for the candidates who needed a good studying environment.”
Indimuli said lack of funds had frustrated preparations for practical subjects such as biology, physics and chemistry. The Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) sends a list of chemicals to be purchased by schools ahead of students sitting the practical papers.
Basic Education Principal Secretary Julius Jwan said the remaining capitation balance will be sent to schools next month.
“We have at least made some good progress in managing crises in the secondary schools by releasing part of the money, and we hope that examination administration can now progress well,” said Dr Jwan.
The 2020 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) candidates are today sitting the English paper, for both braille and the hearing-impaired.
This will be followed by English (Comprehension, Literary Appreciation & Grammar) for the various categories of learners.
The candidates will take a weekend rest and sit the mathematics and chemistry papers on Monday. Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said testing regulations will apply during the entire exam period.
“The practice will remain the same and cheating will still be strictly monitored. Full compliance with Covid-19 protocols is a must and centre managers, invigilators and supervisors must perform their duties diligently,” said Prof Magoha.
He said a multi-agency approach will be enhanced to ensure every corner of the country ‘remains alert’.
Jwan said students who are pregnant or have given birth must be allowed to sit the exams. “We shall not discriminate against any student. As long as they were registered to write the tests, they must be allowed to do so.”
He also urged parents to ensure their children sit the exams. “We do not want cases of absentee candidates and we are calling on parents to ensure all children who were registered to sit the examinations are given the chance whether in hospitals or anywhere else,” said Jwan.
It also emerged that government officials have been advised to increase surveillance during the weeks that candidates will be writing the exams. Measures will include ensuring that protocols on keeping safe from the coronavirus disease are observed.
“All candidates, invigilators, supervisors, security and centre managers will be required to wear face masks at all times in full compliance with the Covid-19 protocols,” said Jwan.
New examination rules require that candidates wear masks at all times, and that the masks will only be lowered during frisking to allow for identification of the candidates.
“Candidates must wear face masks properly throughout the examination. Refusal shall constitute exam irregularity. Candidates with hearing impairment sitting KCSE may be required to remove their masks when taking the practical signing examination,” read the Knec rules.
Jwan further directed examination officers to ensure that cases of impersonation are detected and the offenders arrested.