Alarming Rate Of Examination Malpractices

Alarming Rate Of Examination Malpractices

THE huge record of malpractices at public examinations across the country is not only worrisome but is capable of threatening the fleeting standard of our educational system. From joint public examinations like common entrance into secondary schools, SSCE, NECO, UTME and Post-UTME to Diploma, Degree and professional examinations, the nation’s public space is awash with cases of examination malpractices. Exams misconduct simply refers to any illegal or illicit means of circumventing the process in a free and fair academic contest. Such illegal means include actions perpetrated by candidates, examiners or officials before, during and after the conduct of an examination.

SO many schools across the country—public, private or WAEC approved study centers—are recording huge success in WASSCE and NECO through the back door. Authorities of these schools hire ‘mercenaries’ to help their students solve the questions, and the answers are distributed among the students.  Thus their candidates record extraordinarily brilliant results. As a matter of fact, majority of the private school owners would go the extra length to ensure their students pass West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) with unmerited distinctions. Some of these schools go all out to pay the invigilators and examiners so that they can look the other way while cheating thrives.

THIS anomaly has somehow become a norm that any examiner that opposes it receives hostile treatment and threat to life. In the last one decade (2008-2018), over one million candidates had their results withheld by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) over examinations misconduct.  WAEC has said that there is an upsurge in examination malpractices because some schools’ principals are under pressure to increase the performance of their pupils in external examinations.

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THE last UTME conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) witnessed high rate of malpractices as in previous exercises. For instance, in a center in Edo State, fifty people were arrested for malpractices including a self-acclaimed Professor who was caught assisting his daughter to cheat in the exams. Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions have berated the poor conduct of JAMB tests which they use to justify their conduct of another round of entrance exams after JAMB’s known as Post-UTME. Unfortunately, this too has been subject to manipulation given the Nigerian factor.

AFTER gaining admissions into tertiary institutions, students who are already used to buying their way through in previous examinations at lower levels continue to seek for means of compromising the integrity of examination processes in their various campuses. Sadly enough, such exam cheats find ally in some lecturers who aid and abet misconduct either by questions leakage, poor invigilation, or change of grades for pecuniary benefits which are either in cash or kind.

IT must be noted that the more the examination bodies are devising means to tackle the scourge, the more the number of candidates that engage in the act increases. This is because the number of candidates that are caught during examinations is far less than the number that engages in examination malpractices successfully. This, no doubt, shows that there is a systemic problem in our educational system just as we have in other sectors.

THE negative effects of examination malpractices on our national life are huge. First, it has led to the reclassification of the certificates awarded by Nigerian institutions by the international community as holders of such are subjected to another round of tests and examinations before they can be employed or admitted for higher degrees or professional courses both locally and abroad regardless of the class of such degrees or certificates. Second, it has turned our institutions into mass producing unemployable graduates who cannot defend the certificates they are holding. Ultimately, it has contributed immensely to the non-productivity level of our economy as many of our graduates lack the requisite   initiative and ideas to create jobs and solve societal problems.

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THE HOPE therefore calls on the authorities and relevant stakeholders in the education sector to address this ugly trend through concerted efforts before it destroys whatever standard is left. Public and private school owners should ensure adequate staffing to match the minimum student-teacher ratio acceptable in sane climes. The overcrowded nature of our schools often overwhelms the examiners in terms of effective teaching and evaluation as they simply cannot cope with the huge number of students they have to teach and examine. Also, dying reading culture should be resuscitated. Religious institutions and philanthropists should invest in public libraries to complement government efforts in improving the culture among the youths. This will enhance better preparation for examinations.

ON the part of examiners and officials of examinations, THE HOPE calls for a review of the entire processes. First, the objectiveness of the tools and materials as well as venues of examinations should be looked into by various examination bodies. We have placed too much emphasis on written tests and almost neglected other forms of assessments like oral and practical assessments. Appropriate sanctions should be meted out on exam cheats no matter who is involved. Students who engage in misconduct should not be the only set of people to be punished but any official or examiner found culpable should also be made to face the music. Staff unions like ASUU and others should act as watchdogs to sanitize the system and should not shield any of their members who engage in malpractices.

THE Nigerian labour market should de-emphasise paper qualifications at the expense of competence and performance. As a matter of fact, we have overrated the university degree at the expense of other technical certificates and diplomas and this has made every parent to want his/her child to obtain a degree by whatever means. Parents and students should, however, know that there is no justification for examination malpractices as the consequences outweigh the temporal gratifications they enjoy. This is because when the chips are down, holders of certificates will be called upon to defend such.

Alarming Rate Of Examination Malpractices

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