Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i recently ordered varsities to set exam to candidates before they join campus as one of the measures to curb exam cheating in schools.The directive came day after the no nonsense cabinet secretary swore to stop exam cheating in Kenyan school once for all. As part of the changes to the new curriculum to take effect this year, students who are chosen to join various universities will undertake another exam with high quality before admission. There are dozens of changes in the 8.4.4 system and the new curriculum will be released by the ministry in due course. This is what baffles me even further.
How are the affected students going to survive this? I dare you to ask any form four candidate of last year-who cheated and was not profoundly bright-if they still have a single page of the notes they used in high school. Better still just try to jog their mind a bit by posing a simple question in History or Geography and see whether they are the egg-headed students last years’ results would pose them to be. If they were like any of the guys we used to study with in high school, the “achana na maisha yangu type” then they are waiting for an impending tempestous storm. I can bet on this, really! Some of this guys could fail terribly. The most funny bit of all this would be when a guy would get probably overall mean grade A- (78) points then are made to sit for an exam in a new university environment (assuming this guy cheated) and because of the change in environment and tension to keep up the good performance, a guy would probably not remember the last date Kenya held a General Election. Do you remember it yourself?
I am not trying to insinuate that all students cheated and would fail university trial exams but if what am fearing is true, we will witness a terrible mess this year (just saying). The bigger question more so is, what would these exams be all about? Will a student joining university to study Literature be burdened with lumps of sums in the name of gauging their credibility? Top performing students in K.C.S.E sometimes are no better as some end up taking retakes in universities in the high profile courses they took and can’t manage the standards needed. However we must appreciate and support our top candidates in various examinations to see them attain university degrees like we are doing! I wish these guys all the best however.