Examination malpractice is defined as any conduct relating to an examination that negates the regulations guiding any given examination. The menace of examination malpractice in Nigeria’s educational system has become an issue of grave concern for stakeholders in the nation’s educational system. With a disturbing annual Examination Malpractice Index (EMI) of 12%, Nigeria is ranked unfavourably high in examination malpractice in the world.
There is no gainsaying the fact that education will continue to occupy a central place in determining the stability, progress and prosperity of nations. However, when examination malpractice is carried out on a large scale and in a consistent manner as we are witnessing in this country, it constitutes a serious problem of integrity not only to the educational system but also to the entire society with very serious consequences.
It is in view of the serious nature of this challenge that the National Orientation Agency (NOA) is undertaking a massive campaign against examination malpractice. The Agency, on Tuesday, July 10, 2010 launched the campaign to raise integrity standard in the conduct of exams in Nigeria in conjunction with Exam Ethics Marshals International in Lokoja, Kogi State. The campaign will, among other things, establish Examination Ethics Clubs in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions across the nation; train Parents/Teachers Associations on how to forestall exam malpractice; adopt television and radio educational programmes to sensitize stakeholders on education best practices; as well as bestow honours on champions of education best practices in various states of the federation.
It was in this regard that the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada and the Director General of NOA, Mr. Mike Omeri were during the launch inducted as Special Chief Examination Marshals by the Exam Ethics Marshal International.
The NOA Director General, in a pre-event press conference observed that the Agency’s investigations show that many Nigerians are eager to enlist in the vanguard for anti-examination malpractice, adding that it was high time Nigerians took positive affirmative steps to kick out malpractice in our educational system.
In his address at the event, Mr. Omeri identified the production of half baked graduates from the education system with professional qualifications not backed by knowledge; discouragement of honest hard work among students; low level of productivity and inefficiency in the economy; production of mediocre future leaders; the question of credibility of qualifications obtained in the country in the international arena; and the erosion of individual self confidence as some of the numerous consequences of examination malpractice in Nigeria.
Director General therefore explained the campaign thus: “The campaign we are launching today is under our recently launched umbrella charge of ‘Do the Right Thing: Transform Nigeria’. It will be carried out nationwide through stakeholders’ fora, media campaign, community theatre, IEC materials, etc. The stakeholders’ forum that will follow this opening ceremony is the first of a series of similar fora and activities that will take place in all the States of the federation and the FCT. It is our hope and expectation that after deliberations, stakeholders will commit themselves to a concrete plan of action to stamp out, or at least reduce examination malpractice to its barest minimum”.
Mr. Omeri described the challenge of examination malpractice as very disheartening and one that must be brought under check. “You will agree with me that the current challenges dogging our examination processes are quite disheartening as we are confronted at all levels with various forms of examination malpractice… The phenomenon has graduated to a highly complex and organized crime perpetrated by private schools, community owned schools, etc”, he lamented.
Governor Wada, while declaring the launch open, described examination malpractice as a new phenomenon in Nigeria, contrary to what obtained in the past and therefore must be eliminated by all possible means. He was emphatic that all stakeholders in our educational system must be held accountable for the present state of affairs in the sector. He commended the initiative of the Agency in launching the campaign against examination malpractice in conjunction with the Examination Ethics Marshals International, describing it as a ray of hope for the education sector.
“Exam malpractice is a new phenomenon in Nigeria. It was not there in those days… But all hope is not lost because of what we are doing here today; because of this event which is being organized all around our country by the National Orientation Agency. So let me use this opportunity and event to commend my brother, Mr. Mike Omeri for this initiative. May God Almighty help us for it to succeed”.
The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, represented by the Director, National Orientation in the ministry, Mr. Daniel Tifato told Nigerians at that event that the Federal Government would leave no stone unturned in its bid to re-orientate its citizens and wean them of attitudes that are inconsistent with the core values and cultures of the nation. He described cheating in any form as unnatural and therefore unacceptable to the typical Nigerian who believes in hard work, honesty and self reliance. He therefore promised that his ministry would always partner with other ministries and all credible organisations towards attaining the mandate of the ministry.
In her own comments, the Honourable Minister for Education, Professor Ruqayat Ahmed Rufai, represented by the Director, JCCE and NCE in the ministry, Dr. (Mrs.) Lami Amody said her ministry was very pleased with the efforts of the NOA towards eradicating examination malpractice in the country, noting that with such efforts, the ministry’s job in that regard is made a whole lot easier. She restated the resolve of the ministry to rid the nation’s education system of all teachers and other officers with corrupt tendencies, especially as it concerns participation, aiding and abetting of examination malpractice. This, she noted, was in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda.
The Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Professor Julius Okojie, represented by Visiting Prof. Nancy Agbe called for the two full stanzas of the National Anthem to be sang at all public functions and for same to be taught to students in all schools across the federation as part of strategies to increase the national values content of our nation’s educational system. He further identified the day schooling phenomenon, the unwillingness of teachers to teach and the tendency for both teachers and students to collude with perpetrators of examination malpractice as fuels for the menace of examination malpractice in our educational system.
Founding Chairman, Exam Ethics Marshals International, Mr. Ike Onyechere, in his remarks regretted that despite Nigeria’s abundant natural endowments, the nation still ranked as low as 156 in the United Nations Human Development Index. The missing link, he said, was the poor state of our educational system. He therefore urged stakeholders to take quick steps towards redressing the negative trend in the interest of the nation’s development. Amongst the strategies slated for the campaign against exam malpractice, he disclosed, were a series of television and radio drama series tagged “Fire on the Mountain”.
The campaign launch attracted various education stakeholders including the Federal Ministries of Education and Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, as well the National Universities Commission, schools, teachers, students and civil servants from across the federation.
As part of contributions towards realizing the Transformation Agenda of the present administration, there is need for all to consider the future of our children, our wards and our country and resolve to say “No” to examination malpractice. Let us all do the right thing and transform Nigeria.