On Monday November 13, President Muhammad Buhari declared open the Federal Executive Council Retreat on Education sector. The retreat was organised to proffer solution to the challenges besetting the Nigerian education sector. It is however germane to assert that without addressing the challenges occasioned by the students decadence, no reasonable feat can be attained, and all efforts exerted towards revamping the sector dire in pretty fertility.
One of the biggest threats to the development of education in Nigeria today is the rate of which examination malpractices are gaining momentum. To be factual, Nigerian educational system has been suffering from exam malpractice for a very long time that, some people no longer see it as a thing of shame. Glorious days have gone when students would read from night till day-break (TDB), exam halls were as silent as graveyard, and students perceived being caught for exam misconducts as shameful and a means to besmirch their family names and integrity.
Examination malpractice could be seen as any illegal, unacceptable and crude means of assisting a candidate or group of candidates in an examination. Many nomenclatures have been given to it – among which are nje, panpa (/kpankpa/), microchips, expo, chukuli, orijo, and so on.
Since the hunter has decided to be shooting without aiming, the birds too have devised a means of flying without perching. The fact that Examination Malpractices Act No 33 of the 1999 constitution prescribes minimum of #50,000 and a maximum of four year jail term does not deter the unscrupulous elements abetting, promoting and perpetrating the illegal act. Worrisome indeed is the evolution of ways through which Nigerian students cheat during examinations. There has been a sharp graduation from obsolete to more sophisticated ones.
To those who survive on examination malpractices, neck stretching, the use of mobile phone, hiding chips inside hair and writing on foot wears are totally of old. Fairly sophisticated are writing on body parts where they scribble answers in parts of the body, writing on clothing including brassieres, blouses, boxers, socks and handkerchiefs and use of programmable calculators and wrist watches.
It may be incredibly astonishing that top means of cheating during exams do not exclude the following. Finger code is in vogue. During multiple – choice papers, non-verbal communication is employed where each finger raised is symbolic. The thumb may represent option A, while option B is indicated by the index finger. Also, the use of mercenary is as old as examination, and most of these mercenaries charge exorbitant prices. In the same token, disturbances during examination and obstruction of supervision are another miserable ways through which students engage in exam malpractices.
Examination malpractices has, in the present times, grown wings. The dimensions it takes are highly phishy, smarmy, despicable and criminally professional. Some centres drug invigilators as well as the supervisors to pave way for them to engage in exam malpractice. Not only that, having reached a compromise with invigilators, students do exchange question papers already soaked with answers. The most disturbing strategy nowadays is called non-appearance. Non-appearance is a newly evolved phenomenon in exam malpractice whereby the candidate will not show up throughout the period of the examination; he only needs to send his passport photographs, subjects and particulars to corrupt individuals, mostly men, who will help him prosecute the exam from start to finish. These corrupt men collect amounts ranging from #75,000 to #100,000. No wonder you see them build mansions, riding exotic cars and so on with illegitimate proceeds from exam malpractices. They are next-door neighbours.
Nigerian academic certificates are worthless and are no more valuable than the papers that are printed on. The upright and diligent percentage of students are really discouraged. There is a disgusting decline in academic standard. Those who made their ways to higher citadel of learning through exam malpractices are usually behind incessant clashes resulting in disruption of academic calendar and programmes.
Nigeria will be doing what is more dangerous than digging its own grave if urgent and drastic steps to curb the menace of examination malpractices are not taken. Stakeholders in the education industry must do the needful taking change the narrative for the better. Parents and guardians must desist from taking their children to special centres. The black sheep among the teachers who make illegitimate wealth through “non-appearance” and other crude means have to stop and repent before they begin bite their fingers. Students too must shun laziness and embrace diligence. Teachers welfare should be given premium and the examination bodies should not be left unmonitored.