In the last few days, the issue of Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) and the extent of the rot in the Kenyan primary and secondary schools examination administration has been in the headlines in all the major media platforms in Kenya. As usual, we are pretending to be puzzled. I was equally shocked after reading the media reports on how exams were bungled and the old man in charge of the exams kept telling us all was well. In fact what we are reading or hearing is probably a small tip of the iceberg.
As we would know, at birth Kenya was like any other state. A normal one with all structures functioning as they should. Gradually corruption set in and grew in huge ways like a cancerous tumor and it is now consuming us quick and sure. Allow me to highlight the integrity of the Kenyan passport. Some years back, the holder of a Kenyan passport enjoyed such privileges as would a British passport holder. You never needed a visa to nearly all western countries including the US and the UK…all you needed is a flight ticket and you are good to go. Flash forward to 2016: in order to get a visa to even the most mediocre of the countries in the western world, you will go through hell and back…you must carry all manner of documents and paraphernalia to just get a two day’s visa to such a country. It is not a nice experience at all going through those naïve consular officers …if you doubt ask those who have been to those consulates. The question is what happened? My answer is just one word: Corruption! Some crooks in conjunction with some criminal officers defiled the integrity of the Kenyan passport by issuing it to un deserving folks from elsewhere in the continent in exchange for aft bribes. I am sure most of the Kenyans that have travelled dread the visa application processes for other countries.
I am not a prophet of doom but I dare say the certificates of education issued by KNEC are heading in the same direction. Soon those who wish to study abroad will be faced with a situation where the papers they carry as certificates will not be worth anything more than the paper they are written on. How can anyone be sure that the grades reflected there in were not acquired after buying exams from corrupt examination officials? I dare say that the intensity of the rot in the examination council is yet to be unearthed but thanks to the abrasive Education Cabinet Secretary Dr. Matiangí, something is cooking and I have a feeling it is quite something. I hope they don’t scuttle this by instigating a cabinet reshuffle to remove him…probably in the guise of going to fix the devolution ministry. Dr. Matiangí is in my view taking the right steps and indeed to quote him…this nonsense can not be tolerated! Period.