Exam scam: Findings not convincing

Education minister Sam Ongeri lived up to his pledge on investigating the scandal that rocked last year’s Form Four examinations.

He released the investigation report and swiftly set up another team to conduct more comprehensive investigations into the administration of national examinations.

Predictably, the team led by Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Olive Mugenda, reported that the mess was due to a computer cock-up.

The significant revelation, though, was that the number of candidates involved was not 4,000; but 40,252.

On this score, we are vindicated. We have always argued, based on facts gathered from the ground, that the figure was bigger than what the bureaucrats at the Ministry of Education and at the Kenya National Examination Council kept saying.

It is obvious that the report just scratched the surface. Reporting that the problem was computer-based was not new. At any rate, it is not convincing.

Does it mean that a council charged with the task of administering exams cannot invest in modern computing programmes or recruit the best IT specialists to run its computer programmes? What happened to the traditional practice of checking the raw scripts against computer print-outs?

Clearly, there was more behind the computer problem, which the Mugenda team failed to unearth.

Prof Ongeri has since appointed another team to undertake a major audit of the council’s operations.

What is disturbing is the half-hearted measures that Prof Ongeri and his managers at the Education ministry are adopting in handling the crisis.

They thrive on denial, underplaying issues and obfuscating facts.

Questions of perennial examination leakages, the quality of setters and examiners, and the printing of the exam papers are not being addressed.

Yet, these are at the core of the mess.

It is imperative that the top management of Knec step aside to allow for proper diagnosis of the malaise at the council.

Prof Ongeri should also disentangle himself from the networks at the council and the ministry and tackle the rot therein.

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