28 March 2016

Kenya orders arrest of exam officials after widespread cheating

Nine members of the national examination board are implicated in widespread cheating on university entrance exams



The Kenyan government has dissolved the national examination board and will arrest its members after they were implicated in widespread cheating on the university entrance exams, officials said.

The cheating scandal comes as the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, leads a high-profile campaign to combat the corruption endemic in government and society where an estimated £4.2bn ($6bn) is lost each year to graft.

Education minister Fred Matiang’i said the top members of the Kenya National Examination Council had all been implicated in what he called “unprecedented cheating” in this year’s exams. Internal security minister Joseph Nkaissery ordered the arrest of nine members of the board.

Half a million high school students sit the exams annually and last year the results of 5,101 candidates were cancelled because of cheating. Investigations by local media suggest there were many more cases.

Kilemi Mwiria, Kenyatta’s adviser on education, said the cheating in schools was a crisis, with teachers helping students to cheat and parents buying examination papers.

“This is a reflection of our society – we glorify thieves – young people say they will do anything to make it,” he said earlier this month in a TV interview. “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.”

Kenyatta has now appointed former University of Nairobi vice-chancellor George Magoha as the new chairman of the examinations board to lead the clean up.

Kenyatta took office in April 2013 and has repeatedly promised to eradicate rampant corruption. Despite firing six ministers, critics say he is not doing enough and the worst offenders remain free.

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