África/Kenya/29 Mayo 2016/Fuente:DailyNation /Autor:David Aduda
Resumen: Las nuevas regulaciones anunciadas por el secretario del gabinete Educación Fred Matiang’i para frenar las trampas en los exámenes nacionales han estimulado el debate con opiniones divididas. En la nueva normativa, el ministro ha cambiado el calendario académico, que se extiende por el segundo término de una semana y reduciendo el tercer término de dos meses para los no candidatos con la intención de limpiar las escuelas y su conversión puramente a centros de examen durante ese período
New regulations spelt out this week by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to curb cheating in national examinations have spurred debate with opinions divided whether or not they can achieve the intended objectives.
In the new regulations, the minister has changed the academic calendar, extending the second term by one week and reducing the third term to two months for non-candidates with the intention of clearing schools and converting them purely to exam centres during that period.
Further, all non-academic activities, including parents’ visits and prayer days have been outlawed. And since the term has been shortened, students will not get their usual mid-term break.
The latter set of regulations is intended to limit contact between candidates and outsiders, ostensibly to guard against cases where exams are smuggled into the schools.
In particular, it has emerged that some parents or organised networks smuggle cell phones and other gadgets to candidates during the school visit and prayer days, which gadgets are used to transmit exam questions.
This was particularly rampant last year, when exams were widely leaked through WhatsApp.
But critics have questioned whether these directives will contain the runaway cheating in exams given its various permutations. Among others, it is questionable what happens to day schools or mixed boarding and day schools, where students walk in and out of school every day. Also, cheating was largely technology-based, what is being done to deal with that?
Curbing cheating has to start with overhauling the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC). Various investigations reports have shown there are criminal syndicates at the exams council, which have access to exams and using their networks, circulate them far and wide.
This is the reason why experts have called for radical reorganisation of the council. Dr Matiang’i made the first step in March when he dissolved the board and set up a new one, which in turn sacked the Chief Executive Joseph Kivilu and seven senior officials.
But more work must be done. According to a report by an ad hoc committee set up by the council, all KNEC employees should be vetted to determine their suitability, a clear indication that most of them have fallen short of glory. It is understood that the process is beginning soon.
A clear manifestation of the rot at KNEC is the «Chickengate» scandal which sucked in top officials, including former chief executive Paul Wasanga, who were reportedly bribed by a printer in London, ostensibly to give printing contracts. This has raised fundamental questions about the integrity of top council officials and the sanctity of exams.
Available evidence also indicates that some setters and moderators engaged by the council, most of them teachers, engage in exam stealing.
Unlike in the past when the experts swore to confidentiality, many no longer honour this and instead use the insider information to leak exams at a cost.
GET NEW SETTERS
Indeed, the council has to drop most of them and come up with a new system of identifying and recruiting new ones. In future, those recruited should be changed regularly to shake up the system.
More importantly, since exams are set even a year in advance, it would be necessary for KNEC to discard everything in its existing questions bank and get new setters and moderators to prepare different ones. We should not be surprised if the questions have already been leaked.
The second level is during transportation, distribution and storage of examinations. Traditionally, exams are stored in police armouries across the country for onward transmission to school.
This has become another weak link as some police officers have resorted to stealing papers from the stores and selling them to school principals and teachers. In fact, in some cases, schools pool resources and pay the police bosses to steal the papers and bring supervisors and invigilators in the loop. Perhaps, the government should outsource transportation, distribution and storage of the papers to credible security firms, just as banks do with money.
The third level is at the school where students, teachers and even parents organise to acquire the papers in advance.
Cases abound of schools where teachers wake up candidates at 3 am to do revisions and which questions turn out to be real exams. Not surprisingly, some of those arrested last year were school directors, principals and teachers.
What all these show is that exam cheating is deeply rooted in our system and routing it will require more strategic approaches.
But the starting point is to overhaul KNEC to give it the capacity to administer exams. It is understood that the new board under Prof George Magoha has literally been camping at the council, working round the clock to change structural and administrative processes.
Prof Magoha, however, prefers to work behind the scenes, which is a legitimate position, but it is important to give updates of the milestones to inspire confidence in the public that things are being done.
So far, Dr Matiang’i has demonstrated the desire to change things but he has a daunting task.
Fuente de la noticia:http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/Minister-in-right-direction-but-more-needs-to-be-done/-/440808/3213642/-/15knb9kz/-/index.html
Fuente de la imagen:http://www.cio.co.ke/var/cio/storage/images/media/images/fred-matiang%27i/336704-1-eng-GB/fred-matiang%27i_article_full.jpg