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Relax! Viral video of student confessing – on live TV – to cheating in Kenya’s national exams just a TikTok joke

IN SHORT: Just days after the school-leaving Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam results were released, a video that seemed to show a top-performing student blatantly admitting to cheating went viral. But it’s just a joke created for TikTok, and not meant to be taken seriously.

A video showing a “student” supposedly confessing to cheating in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams has gone viral on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

In the video, Citizen TV news anchor Victoria Rubadiri is interviewing two top performers in the national exams. One is in the studio and the other joins on a video call.

The chyron – text on the lower part of the screen summarising a broadcast – reads: “TOP STUDENTS’ REFLECTIONS”.

The anchor asks the student on video call: “And for you Jeriel, what were your preps like? Did you think that you would be where you are today?” 

He responds: “I can't lie. I wasn’t shocked but for me personally it was a bit difficult because I always had to stay up late after preps to make sure my phone was charged and the next morning I always had to wake up very early to make sure I got the leakage in time.”

“Amazing,” the anchor says.

Leakage is when students get exam questions before the exams, giving them an unfair advantage.

Preps is time for students to do their own revision, complete assignments and read outside of normal school hours. 

The video went viral just days after education cabinet secretary Ezekiel Machogu released the 2022 KCSE results on 20 January 2023.

Exam cheating is not new in Kenya. The country’s senate has launched an investigation into allegations of cheating in the 2022 KCSE exams, according to local media. Some low-ranking schools posted surprisingly high scores.

Phones and anything else that could help candidates cheat are not allowed in exam rooms.

But is the video showing a candidate confessing to cheating on TV legit?


Edited interview from 2021

The video went viral in January just after the KCSE exam results were released. But screens in the studio show the text “KCSE 2021”. This suggests the original video is from 2022, when the 2021 results were released.

We searched for the words “TOP STUDENTS’ REFLECTIONS” on Facebook and found the original video posted on Citizen TV’s verified Facebook page nine months ago. It was also posted on YouTube.

Two top students – Jeriel Ndeda Obura, the top-performing 2021 KCSE exam candidate nationwide, and Gerri Resula Nyegenye, who was among the leading students – were interviewed. A third student, not in the short clip, was also in the segment.

The interview was held on the evening of 23 April 2022, the day the 2021 KCSE exam results were released

The anchor’s question is in the original video, but the answer by the “student” has been added.

In the original, Obura – the top student – was the one answering. When the anchor asked about the preparations that led to his leading performance, he responded: “I always believed in myself but honestly I did not think that I would lead the country.”

The viral clip was posted on TikTok as a joke, by a user who has made similar videos in the past. It does not show a real student confessing to cheating, live on TV.

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