Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has come up with a brilliant plan to shake things up in the world of national exams. Prepare yourself for twice the excitement, because from now on, exam papers will be collected not once, but twice a day. Machogu dropped this bombshell during the 46th Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA) annual national conference, held in the beautiful city of Mombasa at the Sheikh Zayed Hall.
So, here’s the scoop. In the morning, they’ll be collecting the morning papers, and hold your breath, in the afternoon, they’ll be collecting the afternoon papers. Revolutionary, isn’t it? Machogu, with a sly smile on his face, explained that this master plan aims to prevent any early exposure of the exam papers. You see, they want to make sure those sneaky learners don’t get their hands on the papers before it’s time to put their thinking caps on.
But that’s not all! The Ministry has big plans for the future. They want to achieve “solid management and control of exam materials.” How? By expanding the number of containers in the sub-counties and the counties. I guess they’re taking the saying “think outside the box” quite literally. More containers mean more security, and that means no more leaked papers flying around on students’ mobile phones. It’s like a magic trick, but instead of pulling a rabbit out of a hat, they’re pulling exam papers out of containers.
The chairman of KESSHA, Indimuli Kahi, had some burning questions for the Kenya National Examination Council. He wanted assurance that there would be no leaked papers in 2023. He pondered, “Why do we see resemblance of examination papers flying around in mobile phones before the candidates even sit for the exam? Where is this paper coming from?” Those are some valid questions, my friend. If the papers are coming from within, then we’ve got some serious accusations to address.
But here comes Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang with his take on the matter. He believes it’s all about trust. According to him, the trust deficit in our country is a real challenge. Imagine if we could build that trust. Kipsang thinks we could even give students a whole month’s worth of papers. Woah, slow down there, Kipsang! Let’s take it one step at a time.
Kipsang also pointed out that it’s a bit disheartening to see teachers and pupils needing armed security agents during national exams. Shouldn’t exams be a time of excitement and discovery? He questioned why doctors can walk into an operating theater without armed security and why lawyers can strut into court without armed policemen. Why, oh why, is it only when we assess students that we need all this security? These are the questions that keep Kipsang up at night.
To build trust with students, principals need to address the issues that young people face. It’s time to put ourselves in their shoes and understand their world. Kipsang challenged everyone to reflect on what we have done to earn the trust of our students. Maybe it’s time to break free from the shackles of distrust and create an atmosphere of openness and support. Who knows, maybe one day students will march into exam halls with a skip in their step, free from any suspicion or fear. Wouldn’t that be something?