Kenya’s Best Teacher Suspended over ‘Exam Cheating’

Kenya’s Best Teacher Suspended over ‘Exam Cheating’

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The country’s best teacher has been suspended over suspected Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) irregularities.

Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ezekiel Machogu on Wednesday, November 8th, 2023 confirmed the suspension of Nyambaria High School Principal Charles Onyari as the school centre manager, claiming the ministry would not condone ‘nonsense’.

“If you do bad things, we do not tolerate nonsense,” said Machogu.
A senior education official in the region alleged the suspension was due to claims of suspicious activities that threatened the integrity of the exams at the centre.
“I can only confirm to you that it is true, he has been suspended as a centre manager. I cannot give you further details, but it borders on exam irregularities,” said the official.
It also emerged that a sub-county director in Nyamira was also suspended in the web that detectives said they have unearthed.

Nyamira County Criminal Investigations Officer Paul Makonge, said they are investigating different cases at Gekomi Technical Secondary, Nyambaria Boys National School, and Sironga Girls.

Detectives said two candidates from Nyambaria were allegedly linked to some foreign material that was found near the examinations centre.

“We recorded statements from the two candidates before we released them to continue with the rest of their examinations,” Makonge said.

Some 28 students in the school scored an A (plain), 383 students got an A (minus) and 76 got a B+. The last student scored a B (plain).

The school toppled traditional academic giants to stand out as the top school nationally in the 2022 KCSE examinations.

This glory has now been put on the line with a shadow of doubt following the suspension of the teacher.

The decision by the government also raises many questions about the institution’s conduct during national examinations.

During World Teachers Day, on October 5, Onyari was among several teachers honoured by the TSC.

He bagged an award as the top school head nationally where TSC honoured 592 teachers in both primary and secondary schools.

Dr Macharia said he was recognised for his exceptional leadership and commitment to providing quality education.

By close of business on Wednesday, both the TSC and the KNEC had not issued any official communication on the incident.

Meanwhile, police in Migori have arrested 14 teachers over malpractices in the ongoing KCSE exams.

Five teachers, a centre manager and invigilators of St Mary’s Mabera High School in Kuria West Sub-County had their phones confiscated as police probed their alleged involvement in exam irregularities.

While confirming the arrest, Kuria West Sub-County Police Commander Reuben Bett said the phones were suspected to be containing exam marking sheets.

The arrest was made when candidates at the school were continuing with their examinations. “They are 14 in number plus others who were not in that centre,” Mr Bett said.

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