The problem of examination malpractices apart from depleting the standard of education in citizens has also exposed parents and guardians to becoming people without moral rectitude. TAIWO OGUNMOLA in this report looks at the grave implications and the ways out of the woods
The Nigerian education sector is one that older generations of the country remember with nostalgia and wish they could reverse, to bring back the old good days to reckoning. The standards and stakes were high, enthusiasm to read and learn was there, and above all, the jobs were there waiting for young school leavers.
All of that has changed with each passing year. Desperation to succeed without making efforts took centre stage in every facet of the country’s national life and the education sector was no exception.
As candidates write exams every year, malpractices also deepened because of various problems confronting the education sector. The minds of young generations have become corrupt including the way they reason.
Students, teachers and management of schools including the government are not left out in the blame. The recent General Certificate of Education (GCE) examination showed the extent to which candidates manipulate their ways to cheat and then bribe supervisors to perpetrate their atrocities.
A secondary school teacher who was part of the supervisors told LEADERSHIP that he regretted being part of the exam process.
According to him: “Students of this generation are lazy. Most of them who sat for Nov/Dec examinations have nothing in their brains; they rely on bribing teachers / supervisors to pass. We should not be surprised if students who sat for this examination fail due to the level of atrocities recorded in the examinations. The question that agitates the minds of people is when would Nigeria come out of malpractices?”
He said it is so pathetic that teachers have compromised their integrity because of meagre amounts that are being given to them, noting that the builders of the future are now destroyers of the young minds.
“Apart from that, parents also aid and abet crime, hoping that this would enable their wards to speed up their education not minding the consequences. We have seen situations where parents buy results with huge amount of money and bribe lecturers for admission.
“The time parents should use to monitor their children is being diverted to look for teachers that would organize special centre for their children. Most parents do not have time to monitor, supervise and oversee the activities of their children at home. Imagine a mother who works in a bank and returns by 10pm or 11pm. How would she supervise her children?”
He affirmed that children in this kind of situation may suffer setbacks in all ramifications of life because their parents have no time to monitor them , adding that the society these children grow up in is sick, the government inclusive.
The former minister of works in Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, told LEADERSHIP that education in Nigeria can only improve if government focuses on primary school education which is the foundation of every child.
“In the olden days, there was community scholarship, local and state government scholarships that assisted pupils in their studies. So my personal answer to anything that has to do with education is a total reversal of government participation in secondary and tertiary institutions.
“I support that government should divert huge amount of money to primary school education which is the inalienable right of every Nigerian child. This I think is the best to revive the education sector”, he stated.
However, the senator emphasized that government should make education free at primary school level, pointing out that once pupils have access to scholarship; malpractices would be a forgotten issue.
“Government does not have enough resources to fund education at all levels and no government does that anywhere in the world. So what we have now is half-bake secondary, primary school education, and with these, students must look for a way to cheat in examinations. Miscreants now participate in our education system and this is as a result of poor foundation. Teachers encourage students to cheat because most of them cannot write and pass,” Ogunlewe lamented.
He also complained that government spends extravagantly on unnecessary things instead of restricting itself to the funding of primary schools.
“When we were young, local governments set up libraries and it was customary for everybody to go there every Saturday to read. But now, we lack equipped libraries in our society and the local governments that are supposed to take charge of this are incapacitated but what they do is to distribute money to leaders”.
“The level at which primary school teachers are frustrated is unimaginable and government investment at primary school level is poor because huge amount of money is spent in secondary and higher institutions.
“The standard 6 of yesteryears is better when compared to a school certificate older of today because of the shaky foundation. Everything necessary should have been taught at the primary school level so that when the child gets to secondary school, he or she would have been equipped.
The arrest of the supervisors and invigilators in Ogun State was facilitated by information provided by the National Anti-Corruption Volunteer Corps (NAVC), a unit under the ICPC. It was said that the NAVC following a tip off had intercepted a WAEC/GCE supervisor and three invigilators at the Anglican Comprehensive High school, Ikoto, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, in the course of extorting money from candidates who write the recent WAEC/GCE examinations.
State coordinator of NAVC, Mr Idirs Abu affirmed that he received a tip-off from students that in their centre, the suspected culprits asked all students to pay N500.00 to get assistance meant to make each of them obtain good results at once this year.
Also, commissioner-general of examinations, Anura Edirisinghe said that the examinations department had initiated investigations into complaints of irregularities during the 2010 G.C.E. (O-L) examination where it is alleged that students were accused of malpractices such as copying and impersonation.
Examination supervisors and examiners have stated that more than 6,000 students were involved in copying and submitting false ID cards and the education department had taken measures to cancel the results.
The commissioner noted that the department had taken all the measures to visit every province and complete the probe and after the investigations, the department will release the results of those students who are cleared of the allegations.
‘The results of those students whose complaints are proved will be cancelled and they would be barred from sitting examinations for a period of between two and five years or for life, the commissioner stated. One of the lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly once said that candidates who engage themselves in examination malpractices should go to jail. This, he suggests would proffer solution to nefarious attitudes among candidates
In his own reaction, Mr Gbolahan Osho, a secondary school teacher opined that government should cancel GCE because of the criminality involved in it.
As the worrisome menace continues, the poser confronting everyone in the country right now is: who will put an end to malpractices in public examinations? Is our government ready to combat this act among students? What about the parents? Are they ready to monitor their children and not encourage them to cheat?
All hands must be on deck to fight examination malpractice in the country to produce graduates that will make Nigeria proud.