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Probe is Rejected By Knut

By Samuel Siringi, The Nation (Nairobi), 19 June 2001

The teachers union has rejected findings of a government report that found 2,880 candidates cheated during last year's secondary schools examination.

Kenya National Union of Teachers has launched its own investigation into the exam irregularities to come up with a more concrete report and prove that the government one was "shallow and lacking in specifics".

"Our men are on the ground and I promise we will produce a formidable report," said Acting Secretary-General Francis Ng'ang'a.

Last week, a Government report revealed that the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations candidates had been found guilty of cheating.

Some 21 teachers and a Provincial Director of Education now face disciplinary action, said Education Minister Henry Kosgey.

It revealed that headteachers, supervisors, invigilators, education officials and teachers all helped the dishonest candidates. However, it did not name the actual individuals involved in the cheating.

The report was prepared by a nine-member committee chaired by a former ambassador, Mr Benjamin Kisilu. It was appointed in April to examine the anomalies and recommend how to avoid them.

According to the team, there was cheating in 17 papers. Most affected were mathematics, chemistry, physical and biological sciences and history and government.

Yesterday, the officials, addressing a news conference at their Knut headquarters Nairobi, announced they would all offer themselves for re-election during tomorrow's national elections.

Some 2,000 delegates are expected for the elections at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. Voting starts at 8am.

National officials including Messrs Katumanga, national chairman, Mr Ng'ang'a, first vice-national chairman Joseph Chirchir and the second national-vice chairman Amos Ngoche Njoroge will defend their seats.

The national treasurer, Mr Peter Mutulu, and his assistant, Mr Peter Ontere, are also running.

However, focus will be on the top seat - that of secretary-general, left vacant following the death of Mr Ambrose Adongo in March.

As things stand now, the post is likely to go to Mr Ng'ang'a who has been serving in an acting capacity. So far, no one has emerged to oppose him. His election is seen as a mere formality.

The officials made it clear that top on the agenda after elections would be to fight for implementation of a salary increment awarded to teachers in 1997.

The teachers were to receive a salary increase ranging between 150 to 200 per cent.

It is instructive that since the elections are coming at a time a rival union for post-primary teachers is gearing up for membership, Knut will have to struggle to contain their members to avoid switching camp to the rival.

They will have to emphasise more on acquisition of professional skills through training and exchange programmes.

In the last several months, the union has been conducting its branch elections. However some three branches have gone to court to oppose their respective results. They include Nakuru and Kitui.

Knut last held its elections 1996.

Copyright 2001 The Nation. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).