WHY EXAMS PROBITY MATTERS
The government will conduct this year’s national examinations in a radically different environment. It was only to be expected under the new Kenya National Examinations Council and the changes Education CS Fred Matiang’i introduced to deliver credible exams devoid of any malpractices. These changes were necessitated by the widespread cheating in last year’s exams and the government appreciation of the role of examinations.
Formal schooling and certification by training institutions plays an outsized role in the identification and promotion of talent and ability. It is from the pool of these identified talents and abilities that society successively recruits people for administrative and technical responsibilities.
Students who graduate from these institutions should be competent and people of character. It is schooling and examining that help us identify these talents and abilities.
A national examination is based on a curriculum. It is this curriculum that provides the assessment process to enhance academic standards and provide feedback about the effectiveness of teaching and learning.
The credibility and reliability of the assessment plays a key role in identifying these academic abilities and admission to subsequent tiers of education and training.
This is important in forging curricular links between secondary and tertiary education and to meet the needs and expectations of an industrialising society.
This is the reasoning behind the enhanced interest in delivering credible exams and protecting the assessment’s integrity.
This is because if you contaminate the assesment process, you contaminate the management and delivery of the curriculum. And if you contaminate schooling, you undermine the identification and development of the talent and abilities of our children. They grow up never knowing what mettle God gave them, not fully realising their full potential.
Those who cheat suffer from the odium of mediocrity in whatever they do, so does society. Institutions don’t get the best in terms of optimally developed ability, qualifications and character.
Exam cheating also undermines the principle of egalitarianism. The thinking in interpreting this principle is that all opportunities and careers should be open to all regardless of one’s background. The point is quality education, not merely quality grades.
Cheating negates the curriculum and all that it is designed to develop in children. It negates talent and ability. It negates things talent and ability are supposed to advance and protect. It celebrates incompetence. It celebrates anarchy.
Ghanaian Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga Alfred Agyenta noted in an address at the National Association of Graduate Teachers: “The purpose of an examination assessment system is to produce and select authentic products for building the nation and society. It makes it possible for the nation to rely on a credible human resource base for its development programmes. A dysfunctional evaluation and assessment system puts the nation at risk since she is likely to be building on a loose soil of incompetent and poor quality human capital.”
We should look forward to a system where national examinations are secured to produce and select authentic products for building the nation and society.
IF YOU CONTAMINATE THE EXAMS, YOU CONTAMINATE THE MANAGEMENT AND DELIVERY OF THE CURRICULUM. THIS UNDERMINES SCHOOLING