TSC imposes social media ban as crackdown on cheats intensifies

 

TSC imposes social media ban as crackdown on cheats intensifies

 

Teachers have been banned from being members of social media sites which have been flagged for being used to peddle fake examination materials.

It will no longer be business as usual for teachers to join some 33 WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook, and X– formerly Twitter– groups during this examination period.

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Dr Nancy Macharia said: “TSC will not hesitate to take stern disciplinary action against any teacher found to be capable of abetting examination malpractice.”

In a circular seen by The Sunday Standard, Dr Macharia listed some 33 social media sites and channels that she said the country’s 380,000 teachers are prohibited from joining.

She said the sites have been flagged to peddle fake examination papers

Unscrupulous persons have started sharing or publishing fake documents purported to be examination materials… The government has flagged the attached social media platforms disseminating fake examination material,” the circular dated August 7 reads.

The circular is copied to the Kenya National Examination (KNEC), Regional Directors, County Directors and Sub County Directors

On Saturday, TSC director staffing Antonina Lentoijoni amplified Dr Macharia’s circular.

“Earlier this week, we sent a circular to all teachers and schools warning against being members of any social media forums perpetuating malpractice in the 2023 examination and assessments,” she said.

She added: “I call upon all the supervisors, invigilators and centre managers to desist from examination malpractices and ensure that the examinations are conducted in accordance with the set rules and regulations in order to deliver a credible examination.”

Antonina further said: “I direct that all those who will be involved in the administration of this year’s examination and assessments uphold integrity in executing their roles and exercise vigilance to deter any form of examination malpractice.”

She spoke at a meeting attended by three Principal Secretaries Raymond Omollo (Interior), Belio Kipsang (Basic Education) and John Tanui (ICT) at St George Primary School, Nairobi to explain the exam roadmap.

It also emerged the Communication Authority will identify, flag and pull down social media posts as the crackdown on agents of examination malpractices targets digital platforms.

“We are monitoring our social media platforms on a 24-hour basis so as to ensure any forums that are meant to defraud Kenyans on the pretext that they are sharing sample examination papers will be brought down very fast,” CAK acting director general Christopher Wambua said.

Wambua said they are working with the social media platforms, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the National Cybersecurity Centre in the fight against exam malpractices.

And the DCI warned it will arrest members of the identified social media platforms claiming to have examination papers. Nicholas Kamwende, the DCI deputy director, indicated they will be responsible for tracking and arresting those flagged by the CAK.

Principal Secretaries Raymond Omollo (Interior), Belio Kipsang (Basic Education) and John Tanui (ICT) at St Georges primary school, October 28, 2023.[David Gichuru, Standard]

“Our business is to ensure those who are trafficking social media messages are arrested and the law takes its course,” Kamwende said.

PS Kipsang expressed confidence the strategies will arrest the problem of early exposure.

“Early exposure is where you gain access the same day the examination is done, and that is what the parliamentary committee observed and was also identified by the presidential working party and that is why we are going to pick this year’s examination twice,” Dr Kipsang noted.

established that a strategy to crackdown on social media led to the arrest of one suspect on Thursday last week.

According to the DCI, Nicholas Ngumbau Kalewa alias ‘Mr examiner’, claimed to have both the primary and secondary national examination papers and opened over 10 Whatsapp and Telegram accounts where he sold fake papers from between S|h1,500 to 2,000.

“The examiner had opened over 10 Whatsapp and Telegram accounts where he was hawking the fake examination papers at a partly Sh1,500 per paper and Sh2,000 for a complete examination with a marking scheme,” stated the DCI in a post on social platform X.

Detectives later infiltrated the group posing as students and saw the teacher caution over 900 members in the groups not to engage in other matters especially in his inbox as he was busy attending to his clients.

The teacher further cautioned them of scammers and that he was the only one who had legit products.

The strategy to secure the examination will also involve the enforcement of the ban on the use of mobile phones in examination centres.

Only centre managers will be allowed to use mobile phones strictly within their offices. And no teacher will be allowed within the premises of the examination centres.

This is as it emerged that all secondary school teachers will be deployed as examination officials away from their stations in a wider scheme to secure the national tests.

“The commission has identified and vetted a total of 223,000 teachers as supervisors and invigilators and, at the same time, has identified 71,760 centre managers to be involved in the administration if this year’s exams,” Antonina said.

Omollo said that they have set up two command centres to deal with malpractices and any arising emergencies.

He indicated that they have set up another support centre at the CAK for coordination and response to any issues and emergencies that might occur.

Omollo said the security committees and disaster and emergency response offices will coordinate the logistics in areas affected by rainfall.

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