Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has announced a ban on ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence-powered writing tool producing speedy texts or ‘answers’ when prompted, amid fears that students could continue to use it to cheat in examinations and assessments.

In a communique to students following the school’s Student Examinations Disciplinary Committee meeting held late in February 2024, it was noted with concern that a large number of exam irregularities were cheating using mobile phones and electronic devices, and teachers and professors were particularly concerned about the AI chatbot, which is now restricted, and any student found using it will be discontinued from learning.

“Kindly take note that use of auto coding software during an examination such as ChatGPT is a very serious offense under the University Examination Regulations and is punishable by expulsion from the University,” reads part of the memo signed by Dr. Aggrey Wanyama, Registrar of Academic Affairs JKUAT.

ChatGPT makes it far too easy for students to use it as a shortcut for essays or other writing assignments due to its ability to create stunningly human-like responses to a wide range of questions and various writing prompts.

Despite this AI chatbot, released by OpenAI in November 2022, producing quick and easy answers to questions, educators have found fault with it, arguing that it does not build critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for academic and lifelong success.

JKUAT is the first university in Kenya to ban the software altogether.