The Star (Kenya) - - Voices -

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.


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