Exam council is solely to blame

Education minister Sam Ongeri was in haste to read aloud the report of the investigating committee that absolved Knec from the KCSE result error, and instead put the blame on its computer system.

If the minister was a herder and his bull strayed to a nearby maize plantation, who would be held accountable? The bull or its owner?

In its basic definition, a computer is just a piece of hardware resting on a piece of furniture, of no use to anyone. For it to be of any human use, a set of instructions, with predetermined output (software), made by a human, is loaded in it.

When this software fails to give the expected output, even after the data capture (input) was successful as the minister put it, then various issues arise.

If it were the same system that was used in the previous years, how come the error never occurred then? If there were any programming changes to reflect either changes in the grading system, or just upgrading the system, the system designer or analyst or whoever was in charge, is to be held responsible. Also sabotage cannot just be dismissed.

If it were really a computer error, then the nearest best explanation can be that a rogue programme (virus) infected the system. However, a virus attack also has a human face, intentional or otherwise.

Knec cannot be absolved wholesale because the council’s computer system has officials assigned to maintain and upkeep it. Failure of the system then means failure of those in charge.

What if the system ran a real time programme as those in hospitals or airports and resulted in loss of lives? Is it the computer system, the doctor or the system developer?

A computer is neither a legal nor a living entity and, therefore, cannot be held responsible for the council’s inability to run its activities.

If the council could not come with an accurate number of those candidates affected — 4,000 instead of 40,000, as the investigating committee unearthed — who can dare defend them? Worse still none is apologetic for their initial erroneous figure.

Amagoro, Teso.

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One Response to Exam council is solely to blame

Nathan Omukwenyi said...

The software used by KNEC is neither old nor malfunctional nor even COBOL based. It is used by National Examinations Authorities in the UK, Africa and the Caribbean as well as professional bodies, including British Medical Colleges, and leading charitable organisations. It is called FAIM and is created by the Hamlet Computer Group http://www.hamletcg.co.uk/Hamlet2006/ourclients/ourclients.html. Check it out for yourself.

The KNEC and the Ministry of Education owe Kenyans a better explaination.