For a very long time, our educational system has had to deal with examination cheats at all levels. These cheats, who devise new strategies to carry out their nefarious activities year in year out, have got better with every win against the system and have grown more in capacity and confidence, especially those who have taken it as a thriving business and raked in millions by milking desperate students and their parents and helping them manipulate the system and fraudulently scaling the Senior School Certificate Examination and the university matriculation examination. And because of their actions, tertiary institutions have continued to admit students lacking the necessary intelligence and work ethic and graduate unemployable degree holders.
However, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has taken a bold decision to stamp out examination malpractice as it relates to entrance examination into tertiary institutions.
Of late, the examination body has investigated, tracked and clamped down on men and women who have become ‘professional’ examination cheats, who register and write exams for not one but multiple candidates every year. These crooks are well organised and operate ‘miracle centres’ where children of those who can afford their services are helped to make the much needed points that would get them admission into the university.
According to reports, hundreds of such people from different parts of the country have been caught and efforts are ongoing to apprehend others, including parents who will stop at nothing to see that their children are admitted into higher institutions by all means, fair or foul. These parents are part of the syndicate and, in most cases, are actually the ones who seek out those to write the exams for their children and wards.
Examination malpractice, as far as this newspaper is concerned, is not only illegal but has a degrading and completely devastating effect on society.
To check this malaise, we register our support for what JAMB is doing to make sure that the menace is extirpated from the educational system. We are well aware of the consequences of examination malpractice in any government system and are in complete agreement with every measure JAMB is taking to make sure that those who uphold corruption in the nation’s examination system are stopped in their tracks.
In March this year, the world was taken aback by the revelation that even developed countries like the United States, where one would think that the system is foolproof, is also grappling with examination malpractice. We, however, support the same measure of naming and shaming parents who encourage their children to commit the offence, as was done in the United States. JAMB must encouraged to adopt the same measure in Nigeria, especially because it is most likely that the same calibre of parents would be exposed in both instances. That would serve as a big deterrent going forward.
We also join our voice with JAMB to apologise to innocent candidates who have been caught in the web despite working hard to prepare for the examination only to experience delay in the release of their results, and sometimes even cancellation. The truth is that such candidates can count on the fact that once all the bad eggs are gathered and taken out, the system would begin to normalise for the good of every well meaning Nigerian.
Examination malpractice, we are compelled to note has been there for as long as people started writing tests. People cheat in practically every human endeavour where there is competition, so it is not unexpected that people would attempt to cheat at examinations. Notwithstanding, it should not be encouraged by anyone or ignored and allowed to continue in schools or wherever examinations are conducted. The same seriousness applied in fighting other kinds of fraud should be applied in combating examination fraud, for those who cheat at examinations are most likely going to cheat in other areas of human activity.
We are constrained to enjoin other examination bodies to join in this fight against a scourge that has eaten deep into the education sector. They must look within their systems and identify loopholes through which such criminally – minded individuals manipulate their way to commit such illegalities, and shut them for good.
When such is done, students would be forced to work hard for their grades and that would not only prepare them for their academic career but also develop them as future leaders who would enthrone integrity and hard work in the larger society.
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