Why EFCC Should Lead The War Against Examination Malpractice
One of the main aims of any educational system is to mould character and develop the spirit of discipline in beneficiaries. But this is not possible in an educational system that is characterised by all manner of irregularities. Students who fraudulently obtain certificates are a clear danger to themselves and the nation because they will likely grow up seeing corruption and incompetence as normal.
Our country’s sad experience with poor quality political leadership, collapsed buildings, death through medical negligence, drug trafficking, armed robbery, fake and adulterated drugs and other vices could partly be traced to examination malpractice. Examination malpractice has become public enemy number one and it will not help Nigeria to attain the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations if something drastic is not done to check it.
In fact, examination malpractice has become so widespread to the point that hardworking students are always mocked by their colleagues who engage in malpractice. There are even allegations of live question papers posted online hours before the examination is to be written. The menace has continued to thrive and perpetrators have become more daring despite laws that stipulate jail term for culprits. To arrest the situation, patriotic Nigerians should join appeal to the Federal Government to engage the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to fight the menace.
Examination malpractice is any irregular behaviour before, during or after an examination with the view of obtaining undue advantage. It has a long history behind it but it became a national issue in the 1970’s and 1980’s when two military governments promulgated decrees to check it. Despite laws that stipulate jail term for offenders, more people are engaging in examination malpractice.
Increasing cases of examination malpractice is an indication of the rot in the society and how corrupt and morally bankrupt Nigerians, high and low, have become. And, prominent among the reasons for it is over-reliance on paper qualification which is responsible for the do-or-die approach on the part of students to pass examinations. School administrators in private and public schools who only think of money engage in the practice. There are dubious employees of examination bodies who commit the crime because of monetary inducement from owners of so-called miracle centres and parents.
Other factors that contribute to the problem are overcrowding in the schools, harsh school environment, presence of unqualified and poorly motivated teachers and inadequate teaching and learning facilities. Others are inadequate supervision of teachers by inspectors, poor teaching in schools and non-completion of syllabus before examination, tying of promotion of teachers to success of candidates in public examinations and absence of guidance and counselling services in schools.
In the meantime, there is need for parents to rise to the occasion. A situation where parents are the ones who abet examination malpractice is wrong. Furthermore, the important task of public awareness is one of the main functions of the National Orientation Agency (NOA). It is important that the agency is rebranded and empowered to take the campaign against examination malpractice to primary, post primary and tertiary institutions across the country.
Other measures to be taken to improve the quality of teaching and minimise the need to patronise miracle centres include adequate enforcement of existing laws on examination malpractice, proper monitoring of schools by inspectors and re-introduction of teacher training colleges. Teachers in private and public schools should be encouraged to update themselves by attending coordination exercises of examination bodies and participate in actual marking instead of choosing to be supervisors during examinations.
On a final note, it is true that the EFCC is already stretched to its limit. Among others, operatives of the Commission are keeping tabs on corrupt individuals in the private and public sectors, hunting internet fraudsters and monitoring how politicians use money to influence voters, so it may be said that engaging the EFCC to take over the war against examination malpractice is an added burden. But this may be the best option for the country
Nigerians have said too much about the evils of examination malpractice. It is time for government to listen and realize that engaging the EFCC in the war against examination malpractice is the best way to stop the practice.
Zeenat Magaji is a Zumunta scholar and student of Federal University of Technology, Minna