The Evolution Of Mwakenya

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2015)

It is exam time in most Kenyan Universities and the hardworking comrades are toiling in the nights burning the midnight oil just to get an A on that paper. The lazy ones are becoming more daring and creative. This group of cons will stop at nothing just to make sure they pass their exams. Innovation is the name of the game as students will go to various extremes while on the hot seat just to make sure they undeservedly top their class.

At the University of Nairobi, Hassan, is busy revising for his exams at the famous gazebo, next to the fountain of knowledge. Perhaps hoping to get a vision of how the exam would be. He however reckons that while he is sweating just to get the best grades, his comrades are using dubious ways just to outdo him in the papers. Creativity is what everyone is opting for rather than applying what they have learnt. ‘Mwakenya’ as it is commonly known in Kenyan institutions, no longer comes in its traditional way of use of notes in the exam room. Students are becoming corny and new ways of copying exams are coming out every day.

New school cheating: The mobile phone

A common recent way many students are cheating is with their phones.  While students are not allowed to read from their phones during exam time, they are allowed to listen to music using earphones and have therefore found a loophole to beat the system. Some are using their phones to record notes then with earphones in their ears and heads covered in hoodies, repeatedly play the voice clips as they write. Speaking to Natasha, a student at USIU, she says;

“If it wasn’t for my phone, i don’t think I would’ve ever passed in my exams. I am able to download all my past  notes and easily read through so as to find the exact area where the question is”

Most campuses send notes to their students in soft copy, this now makes it easier for the students to access notes during their exams. however, many times, students are told to leave their belongings outide or in the front of the classroom to avoid such incidences. Alex, a student at UoN explained to us,

“I just make sure to have an extra phone in my boxer pocket and use another phone as a decoy.”

Old School Cheating

While institutions have become stricter and do not allow students to carry any form of notes, these young geniuses are not short on ideas on other ways to sneak their Mwakenya into the exam rooms. While writing on desks and the walls is one of the old-school exam-cheating ways, Hassan says his classmates print tattoos on their bodies just to write shorts notes there since it is not easy to detect. Friendship also counts while sitting for the exams as the supposedly ‘bright students’ exchange their already-filled answers sheets with those deemed ‘less bright’.

A student looking at their Mwakenya
A student looking at their Mwakenya

Sarah Mageto from the same University admits to cheating in exams. Sarah says she wears mini-skirts on exam days and writes short notes on her hips. And this is not just limited to her. This trend is widespread as students do not want to invest their time in reading but instead opt to use unorthodox means to make it.
Whereas most institutions have employed stricter rules to punish exam cheats, students are becoming smarter and finding new ways to beat the system.
Cheating in exams has grown in monumental proportions but its’ evolution is even hard to beat as students are conning their way to easy success which raises pertinent questions on the credibility and even accountability of University graduates.

Even though in Kenya we may think we are current in our cheating styles, we are nothing close to India;

After considering this, all i can say is, if only we all put as much effort into studying than in devising ways in which we can cheat. LOL.

Do you have anything to add onto this topic? Do you or your friends cheat? Tell us your thoughts below.

By @YashGondisio

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