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How KNEC Robs Kenyans Millions of Shillings when Checking Examinations Results

Every year, the announcements of the release of national exams result in both the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) have always raised mixed emotions among Kenyans. With this, the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC), has been taking advantage of the situation to rip-off the poor anxious Kenyans in need of the results of the examinations.

Using the KNEC’s SMS shortcode to quickly receive KCPE and KCSE results on the phone, the Council is charging exorbitantly for the service. But since the candidates have no other better alternatively, they pay the Ksh.25 per SMS, and coupled with downtime errors, it totals to millions of shillings for the entire group.

Students, parents, and teachers always want to see the outcome of their hard work. The eight and four years immersed in education for the Primary and Secondary School, respectively, is much too long to go to waste.

Admission to an excellent Secondary school in Kenya has always been pegged on high KCPE scores. Other than financial muscle, good KCPE marks of over 350 out of the possible 500 marks, guarantee a student entry into ‘high schools’ with ‘good’ reputation.

Student Celebrates KCSE exams results after using the KNEC SMS shortcode
Shahla Khalid celebrates her KCSE exams with her teachers. COURTESY | NATION MEDIA

On the other hand, KCSE grades have been a determinant of life and death in Kenya. University, TVET’s admission is purely determined by one’s performance in KCSE. Therefore, students and parents are always eager to see their fate through the released national examination results.

How KNEC Rips-Off Kenyans through SMS Short Codes

The fastest means of receiving KCPE/KCSE candidate’s examination results after official release is by SMS. In the last six years, Knec has used only two SMS codes for receiving examinations results.

How to Check KCPE and KCSE 2019 Results after Release using KNEC SMS shortcode

To receive the KCPE 2019 results, one needs to send the candidate’s index number followed by ‘KCPE’ to KNEC’s SMS shortcode 20076.

Likewise, to check the KCSE 2019 examinations results, send the candidates index number followed by the word ‘KCSE’ to KNEC’s short Code 20076. This shortcode (20076) has been in use since the last year of 2018.

The charges incurred for checking the results of the exams for both 2019 KCSE and KCPE is Ksh.25 per SMS sent. The amount is billed irrespective of whether the results are sent back or not.

Between 2017 and 2013, KCSE and KCPE results were checked using the SMS Code 22252. A change from previous years 2013 SMS code 5052.

Throughout the years, KNEC has charged Ksh.25 per SMS sent.

Get a Calculator and Let’s Do Some Maths

In 2019 alone, a total of 1,783,201 candidates sat the national examinations. To be specific, 1,083,456 pupils sat for the KCPE 2019 examinations, whereas 699,745 sat the KCSE 2019.

As I have said in the initial paragraphs above, the most anxious to receive the exam results are the candidates themselves, the candidate’s parents, and teachers. So, more than 3 queries will be sent by the above individuals to check the results of just one candidate. Let’s ignore the error message received if the Index number is wrongly entered or the unavailability of results. In fact, many Kenyans reported receiving ‘Dear customer, the results are not available. Kindly try again later. KNEC helpline 0800724900’ message.

The cost for the three SMS sent will amount to Kshs. 75,( i.e., Kshs. 25 per SMS times 3 SMS). For the sake of our calculations, we will use an average of 2 SMS sent per candidate. Therefore, this then comes to Ksh.50 per candidate.

KNEC to Make Ksh. 89 Million from 2019 KCSE and KCPE Exams Results SMS Codes

From the KCPE 2019 Candidates alone, KNEC earned over 54 million. This amount is obtained by using the official number of candidates who sat the 2019 KCPE examinations as 1,083,456. Multiplying this number to an average of Ksh.50 per candidate amounts to Kshs. 54,172,800.

No. of 2019 Candidates

Est. Amount Earned by KNEC in Ksh.

KCPE 2019



KCSE 2019






Table 1:Number of KCPE 2019 and KCSE 2019 Candidates who sat for Exams and Amount to be Earned by KNEC from SMS ShortCode Charges.

On the side of KCSE 2019, the total number of candidates who sat this year’s exams were 699,745. Again using your calculator, multiply 699,745 by Ksh. 50. And what do you get? A total of 34,987,250. So, exams Council is waiting to pocket over 34 Million Shillings from Kenyans before Chrismas. The day the Education Cabinet Secretary promised to release the KCSE 2019 results.

In 2018 KNEC Earned 85 Million shillings from 20076 SMS Short Code

In 2018, the figures were no different. Though the amount earned in that year was less by about Ksh. 4 Million in comparison to 2019 using similar calculations.

No. of 2018 Candidates

Est. Amount Earned by KNEC in Ksh.

KCPE 2018



KCSE 2018






Table 2:Number of KCPE 2019 and KCSE 2018 Candidates who sat for Exams and Amount to be Earned by KNEC from SMS ShortCode Charges.

The 2018 KCPE Examinations results earned KNEC about Kshs. 52 million as 1,052,364 pupils sat the exams.

Similarly, the 660,204 KCSE examination Candidates in 2018 brought in over Kshs. 33 million from the same 20076 SMS shortcode.

How KNEC has Riped-Off Kenyans Millions from 2014 via SMS

Our reporter at Teacher.co.ke did an analysis using the KCSE and KCPE candidates data from the year 2014 to 2017 and gave the following summarised results.

In 2017 candidates sitting the KCSE and KCPE national examinations were 993,718 and 615,773 respectively. Estimated values show that KNEC earned over Ksh.30 million and 40 million from KCSE and KCPE examinees, respectively. However, the SMS shortcode used was 22252.

No. of 2017 Candidates

Est. Amount Earned by KNEC in Ksh.

KCPE 2017



KCSE 2017






Table 3:Number of KCPE 2019 and KCSE 2017 Candidates who sat for Exams and Amount to be Earned by KNEC from SMS ShortCode Charges.

The previous year of 2016, with 952,021 KCPE pupils and 660,204 KCSE candidates, brought in a whooping Ksh. 80 million in total from the same KNEC’s SMS shortcode.

When 2014 and 2015 are combined, KNEC pocketed an estimated amount of Kshs. 141 million. In 2014, the total number of candidates who sat the national examinations was over 1.36 million and 1.46 million for 2015.

No. of Candidates

Est. Amount Earned by KNEC in Ksh.

KCPE 2016



KCSE 2016



KCPE 2015



KCSE 2015



KCPE 2014



KCSE 2014






Table 4: Number of KCPE 2019 and KCSE 2016, 2015, and 2014 Candidates who sat for Exams and Amount to be Earned by KNEC from SMS ShortCode Charges.

Our calculations show that the national examination council KNEC has robbed Kenyans over Kshs.400 million through the use of SMS shortcodes in the last five years.

Is this Another Kenyan Scandal

It is worth noting that however significant this amount is, the is no information in the public domain whatsoever about KNEC accounting for it.

Could this be another Kenyan scandal waiting to erupt to give someone a political mileage?

Or is it a way to confirm our greed as Kenyans, despite the government’s promise of free primary and secondary education?

1 Comment
  1. Michael waweru says

    And ironically KNEC Pays a KCPE supervision sh 2400 for four days and all the hussles involved

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