By Bayo Fasunwon
There are different levels and phases of life, and life has been so designed that except one passes the tests of a particular phase, ascendance to the next phase becomes difficult, prolonged and sometimes impossible. It is the understanding of the divine programming of life that gave birth to idea of conducting examinations, not only in educational institutions, but also in work places. However, the misunderstanding of the purpose of examinations by the examined and examiners have often led to situations where both and third parties involved in the examination processes have been involved in malpractices in order to pass at all costs. So, while examination bodies are always devising anti-malpractice methods in the conduct of examinations, the examined have also involved in digitalized researches on how to cheat without being caught.
In the ongoing WASSCE and just concluded NECO examinations, some conservative and ‘old school’ parents have raised the alarm that schools (both public and private) have asked them to pay extra monies ranging from six thousand to ten thousand naira per child for ‘logistics’. These ‘old fashioned’ parents are querying the term ‘logistics’, and wondered if it is part of the normal examination fees. Yours truly also went out to investigate the meaning of ‘logistics’ from stakeholders in the education sector. One was shocked to discover that ‘logistics’ are monies paid to external Supervisors, and sometimes monitors, to look away, while examination malpractices were ongoing. These examination malpractices include allowing the students to freely interact amongst themselves and exchange answers during the examination. ‘Logistics’ also cover subject teachers who sit amongst the students to dictate answers to students while the examination is in progress. Furthermore, ‘Logistics’, depending on the amount, gives room for teachers to write the answers on the blackboard for students to copy. This explains why one discovers that, all the students in certain centres write the same answer, and make the same mistakes, while marking their scripts. In addition, ‘Logistics’ cover smuggling of question papers out of the examination hall for ‘experts’ to answer, and return to the students, who then pass it around for copying during the examination. Furthermore, the students also have their organized ‘logistics’ which fetches leaked examination questions and disseminate same to subscribers. Logistics can therefore be defined as the monies demanded and paid in order to facilitate examination malpractices at various examination centres.
This abominable act extends to other examinations and has ruined the lives of many subscribers. The main objective of examination is the test of the skills, intelligence quotient, and the areas of strength of the examined in order to guide them into careers in which they have comparative advantage. The Universities are filled with students who have enviable secondary school leaving certificates, JAMB results, and are pursuing courses in which they do not have the capacity to study. If they had ‘failed’ honourably, another career path that would bring out their best skills and make them highly successful in life would have been pursued early. Late Sir Hubert Ogunde spoke glowingly that his inability to further his education beyond the secondary school was in fact a blessing in disguise. He reiterated that he might have chosen another career path that would have made him die like mere men, if he had gone to the University. Many of students ‘logistically’ helped to gain admission into the institutions of higher learning turn round to become failing, depressed and frustrated students, many of these become cultists, commercial sex workers, drug addicts, and sometimes commit suicide. Those who also successfully apply ‘logistics’ to swim against the tide in those institutions, come out, armed with certificates that they can neither defend nor apply to self development. There are however some who through ‘logistics’ have been able to get jobs, but could not hold it because, they could not give what they do not really have. So many graduates who complain of ‘unemployment’ have been found unemployable in the first instance, for they were ‘logistically made’.
For this reason, many ignorantly conclude that the standard of education has fallen. Nay. Consciously take a cursory study of the curriculum of studies now, and compare it with what you had a decade before, you would be shocked that the standard has become higher. It is so high that tutors at all levels of education had to upgrade themselves in order to dish out true knowledge. On the other hand, the standard of studying has fallen drastically. The reading culture amongst students has died. Only few students study to know as many others just read to pass. This little experiment would shock you. Give a dictionary to a student, and ask that him or her search out a word and its meaning; you would be surprised that the exercise would turn to searching for a needle in a haystack. A video on Facebook showed youth corpers who did not know the full meaning of N.Y.S.C and P.O.P. In addition, some matriculating students do not know the spelling and meaning of some simple words. That signifies the deliberate lack of study. There is the need to restore and instill the reading culture in our students.
With the death of public schools, parents and Proprietors, wishing for ‘good records’ are no longer bold enough to allow students who fail repeat classes. Rather, they are more at home with children skipping levels, and graduating at ‘enviable ages’ and ‘manipulated’ good results. In the remaining Public schools, unpaid salaries, lack of teaching tools, and good teaching programmes have reduced the commitment of teachers to dedicated services to the students. Little by little, we are killing our children, the system, and the country. Any child, who depended on ‘logistics’ to scale through school would also need to depend on the same process in order to make it through life. However, life is a cruel teacher, and lessons often times, are learned, too late.
Parents, let us not love our children to their destruction. Every parent should ensure that the children are given the necessary, adequate, and legal support for excellent performance in schools. After that, leave the children to face their examinations. The lessons learn from their true performance in their examination would help them in making better and informed choices in life. Government should also equip teachers to give their best in teaching to the students, while Proprietors should not sacrifice quality for filthy lucre. When the ill formed students later and ‘logistically’ become the rulers of this nation, we all would suffer for it. Examination bodies should not also pretend and claim ignorance of this ‘logistics’ situation. They must do everything possible to nip it in the bud. Overall, this destructive logistics must stop.