Connect with us

General

My idea to curb exam cheating stolen, claims innovator

Published

on

Loading...

[ad_1]

By JOHN KAMAU
More by this Author

The multi-million-shilling portal the Ministry of Education is using to curb examination cheating was “stolen” from a team of youths who had engaged with senior ministry officials and IT experts for more than three years.

But when it was launched in January 2018 by Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang, ministry officials were credited as the brains behind the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS).

It is now part of the World Bank-funded Kenya Primary Education Development Project (Priede).

Now the innovators are demanding recognition as the copyright owners, and want action taken against the government officials who credited themselves as the innovators. They also want compensation.

When he came to Nation Centre, Mr Daniel Kimencu, 30, had hundreds of e-mails, minutes of meetings, presentations and copyright registration certificates as evidence of his dalliance with ministry officials and Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), which was to publish the Achievers Year Book as part of the student and teacher tracking system.

“I never thought it would happen. They took advantage of our age and stole from us,” he said.

Ms Ann Gachoya of the Directorate of Policy, Partnerships and East Africa Community, team leader during the development of the digital concept, and who corresponded with Mr Kimencu’s Bay Concept Ltd, said: “We don’t know them.”

But the Nation has a letter from the ombudsman dated September 10, 2018, which says the ministry had undertaken to “investigate the complaint and revert”.

This was after Mr Kimencu lodged a formal complaint about the violation of his intellectual rights.

Mr Kimencu first pitched the concept in 2014 to Senior Presidential Adviser on Education Kilemi Mwiria, who advised them to register a company. He then introduced them to KLB Chief Executive Eve Obara, now the MP for Kasipul Kabondo.

“Eve Obara loved our proposal,” recalls Mr Kimencu.

“It is true that we dealt with them and found their concept appealing. I referred them to the ministry but what happened after that I don’t know,” said Ms Obara, surprised at the turn of events.

She confirmed that the innovators were referred to her by Dr Mwiria.

In a letter dated March 16, 2015, to Dr Mwiria, Ms Obara said she appreciated the proposal and promised KLB’s support in actualising the concept.

She then organised a meeting of all heads of departments on May 5.

KLB even published sample Achievers Year Books for primary and secondary schools as it prepared to roll out the publications commercially to all schools.

The books were later delivered to PS Kipsang who, during a meeting attended by KLB officials and Mr Kimencu, now appearing as Bay Concepts Ltd, appointed then Director-General for Education Leah Rotich to fine-tune the concept for adoption by the ministry.

Letters and minutes in the Nation’s possession indicate that a technical team led by Ms Gachoya, Mr Sebastian Owanga and Mr Abednego Kamandi, was formed, and the director-general informed of the progress.

But Ms Gachoya now says she “can’t remember anything” about Bay Concepts.

“I am not aware of any NEMIS concept from Bay. I don’t think the information (you have) is credible.”

Loading...

Dr Mwiria, in an e-mail, had encouraged the innovators: “Once the ministry owns the idea, you are in business.”

Mr Kimencu claims he was told that he would either earn royalties from the books, or that the ministry would buy the copyright.

Bay Concepts suggested that the entries be made in an online system, which could track a student’s general performance and the teacher’s coverage of the syllabus. He brought in young developers, who created a user-friendly digital platform and a mobile application.

“I came up with the concept of a unique identifier, which is now used to register students,” he claims.

This was presented during a meeting at the Ministry boardroom chaired by Mr Milton Moka, education director for field services, on April 14, 2016, and it was agreed that the physical book would be used as a tool to “identify, develop and track” learners’ talents and soft skills.

Mr Kimencu even wrote to the Kenya National Examinations Council “to assist us with experts to review the teachers’ guidebook.”

He explained that they had developed Achievers Year Book, a digital platform “which comprises a personal coded database which captures records and stores a learner’s holistic data throughout their academic tenancy”.

Ms Gachoya wrote to Bay Concepts on November 12, 2016, saying they “now have a commitment to finalise the engagements … and ensure we start the implementation by February (2017).”

Mr Kimencu then sent a series of documents, including the components of the digital platform, the proposed terms of engagement, and a list of schools for pilot project.

At the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, he was referred to Prof Bosire Mwebi, a consultant who lectures at Xavier University, Canada.

“The director-general asked us to share our concept with him. He was to give the feedback to the ministry,” says Mr Kimencu.

The final presentation was done on November 24, 2016, during a meeting attended by various heads of department or their representatives.

Later, Ms Rotich took the Bay Concepts team to meet PS Kipsang, who promised that the ministry would partner with the company once NEMIS was launched.

The parties would sign a formal contract.

It was after the launch on October 18, 2017, that Mr Kimencu realised that the business process ownership had been credited to the ministry’s employees, Mr Sebastian Owanga, Mr Elias Abdi, Mr Michael Kahiti and Ms Martha Ekirapa.

Mr Owanga was later made the head of the new NEMIS Department in the ministry.

“It took me four years to collect the information and create this platform,” says the Egerton University commerce graduate.

Our attempts to get Dr Kipsang to respond to the allegations have been futile. We had written to him asking about the ministry’s promise to Bay Concepts.

Dr Mwiria, happy with the progress, asked KLB to explore partnerships with government ministries and departments.

The World Bank has refused to be drawn into the conflict: “We are unable to comment on allegations. NEMIS is a project of the Government of Kenya. Please direct your query to the Ministry of Education,” said Ms Vera Rosauer, a communication officer.



[ad_2]

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

Published

on

Loading...

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

Loading...

However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

Published

on

Loading...

President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

Loading...
Continue Reading

General

Drastic life changes affecting mental health

Published

on

Loading...

Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153

With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

Loading...

Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

Loading...
Continue Reading

Trending