Home ECONOMY Anxious Parents Gift KNEC Millions in Exam Results Rip-off

Anxious Parents Gift KNEC Millions in Exam Results Rip-off

by biasharadigest

Just weeks after it emerged that the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) is possibly making tens of millions from the release of the KCPE results, it is time for the second round of money minting.

With the release of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) today, KNEC is set to make a killing, again, as the much-anticipated results are released.

The exam
results release on Wednesday means that candidates and their parents are
anxiously waiting to find out how they performed.

As a reward of four years of hard work and investment, the results’ release has left interested parties on the edge of their seats.

Conveniently,
KNEC has provided an SMS code where parents/pupils could find out the results
in real-time. With their minds fixated on their loved ones, top candidates, top
schools and interesting developments, one thing escaped the attention of most
Kenyans; they were being ripped off through the shortcode.

Millions
gone, just like that

Take a minute
do the maths; Kenyans are being charged Ksh25 to access the results via the SMS
shortcode 20076. Kenyans swarmed it like bees punching in index numbers and
hitting the send button.

A total of 699745
students sat the KCSE this year. This makes it a lucrative business for KNEC as
the results come out.

Approximately,
if each student has one parent requesting the results, this would translate to Sh17,493,625 getting
into the KNEC coffers.

But with the curiosity, each student could have at least three SMSes
sent tripling the amount to Sh52,480,875. This amount could even go higher if you factor in
relatives and friends who seek to know how their loved ones performed.

For KCPE,  1,083,456 pupils sat the exam meaning and at
least two people sent the index number of each candidate for them to get the
results.

A spot-check
by Business Today shows that most people who sent the text
said that they did not get the results on the first trial and got them on the
second (spending Ksh50) or third attempt (Ksh75).

That would
translate conservatively to Ksh50 for every candidate.

Make no mistake about it. Two texts are the average number sent for each pupil but it is very likely that there are families that sent three to five texts possibly more anxious to find out the results of their loved ones in different locations.

Education CS Prof George Magoha. He has been the KNEC chairman which is minting millions by just releasing examinations results on SMS. www.businesstoday.co.ke
Education CS Prof George Magoha. He has been the KNEC chairman which is minting millions by just releasing examinations results on SMS. [Photo/The Star]

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Multiply
Ksh50 and the number of candidates who sat the exam you will get Ksh54.17
million (Ksh54,172,800) and the conclusion that someone seated somewhere was
laughing all the way to the bank will race through your mind instantly.

If you
subtract the standard charges levied by service providers Ksh5 times the number
of candidates your math will come to Ksh5.4 million (Ksh5,417,280).

Now minus the
revenue generated by charging all the people who sent the text and the standard
charges and you will get the figure Ksh48.75 million (Ksh48,755,520).

Not bad for
one hour’s work, huh?

Factor in
this: primary education is supposed to be free and before the introduction of
the SMS code, candidates still got their results by fetching them at their
learning institution – free of charge.

The
government has never accounted for this money. Whoever
pockets the cool Ksh101 million is anyone’s guess
.

Taking
advantage of candidates, parents and guardians anxiety to make a killing goes
to show how far greed by those in high positions in government have convoluted
the system to keep feeding their money lust.

As the
country grapples with theft of public resources which has been christened
corruption in efforts to normalise the vice, KNEC’s SMS platform is another
form albeit carefully thought through and unleashed when the minds of Kenyans
are distracted by the results’ release.

Bated
breath means millions

Kenya’s
national examinations results are waited for with bated breath as pupils,
students and parents are anxious to know how they fared.

With this
comes the demand to know what each scored and thus comes the rush for the
numbers, the marks and positions.

KNEC has for
the past few years been utilising technology to avail these results but it
seems that the move is to profit the body at the expense of these pupils,
students and parents.

With the exorbitant charges on SMSes, it seems that KNEC has found a money minting system which earns them millions in a few minutes yet, this money is not accounted for.

A sample response in case your airtime is below the charges by KNEC.

On the
company’s website, there are no audit reports showing where these millions go
neither is there a tender document showing how the SMS service was procured.

Since the
time Dr Fred Matiang’i was the Education CS, the timelines for the release of
these results has taken notably shorter times than was before.

Previously,
KNEC would hoard the KCPE results until after Christmas and up to early March
of the following year for KSCE students.

With
technology, however, there is no need to do this as the exams are marked and
graded faster, too.

For the
results to get to the recipient, they either have to use SMS- which a majority
of Kenyans do since they do not have access to the other option- login online.
On the KNEC portal, students enter their exam credentials after which they are
then issued their results.

While this is
a cheaper option for those who would expect real-time issuance of the results,
the system fails severally until a day or so after meaning that many have to
resort to the money-minting SMS system.

A response to
one parent from KNEC’s shortcode during the release of the 2019 KCPE results.

KNEC makes a
cool Ksh 48 million assuming that each pupil’s parent tried to get the results
twice. In the case of both parents trying, this doubles the earnings for KNEC.
The reality, though, is that many parents will send a series of requests-all
billed- until they get the results.

From this, it
is then possible that KNEC is making anything close to Ksh200 million
(conservatively).

These
millions that the examinations council is milking from Kenyans is, however, not
unaccounted for. At least not in the public domain.

The money is
not declared as an income for the council and the Ministry of education funds
the council.

So, where
does this money go? Are there projects that it funds? Does it help pay salaries
or is it being invested by the council in any form like bonds?

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