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No, Kenya's exam board didn't release the results of a high school student who died before writing national exams

IN SHORT: Kenya's examination body, KNEC, hasn't released the biology results of a student who died before national exams began. He had a grade of “X” in all subjects, to indicate his absence.

Kenya’s school examination system has been in the spotlight for a number of anomalies.

In January 2024 education minister Ezekiel Machogu made public the 2023 KCSE examination results.

The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams are taken at the end of secondary school. The results determine access to tertiary education. The KCSE is administered by the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC).

However, several schools, students and advocacy groups expressed their dissatisfaction with the results, citing irregularities.

It is in the context of this unhappiness that a post on Facebook claimed that KNEC had released the biology results of a student who died before sitting the exam.   

The post, dated 11 January, shows a screenshot supposedly of the provisional KCSE results of Otieno Emstone Odhiambo of Nyabondo High School in the west of the country.

According to the screenshot, Odhiambo obtained a D- in Biology and an X in all other subjects. His mean grade is a “U”.

The caption of the post reads: "This boy supposedly died before the KCSE exams started, but somehow he pulled a Mama Rosa, resurrected, sat the biology paper and got a D-, maybe because he couldn't revise in the grave because of the darkness. KNEC is a scam. The only thing that works efficiently in this country is corruption. The country is in the hands of quacks."

“Mama Rosa” refers to a Kenyan woman who supposedly rose from the dead in 2017.

A candidate receives an “X” grade when they are declared absent, indicating that they have not sat for any or all papers in the examination.

A “U” grade indicates a candidate’s papers were not marked.

On 5 September 2023, a post on the Nyabondo Boys High School Facebook alumni group announced the death of Odhiambo, then a final year student.

KCSE examinations began on 23 October.

But did this deceased student really receive results for exams he didn't take? We checked.


Photoshopped screenshot

Machogu announced on 9 January 2024 that students could check their 2023 KCSE results on the KNEC portal.

We checked the results of the student in question, as shown in the screenshot shared. We found that he received grade X in all subjects, including biology.

KNEC also flagged the post as false on its official Twitter account, writing “FAKE NEWS ALERT!!!”.

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