Men ac­cused of writ­ing ex­ams for girl­friends

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Mis­bahu Bashir & Abubakar Haruna

Cheat­ing in ex­ams is com­mon in both sec­ondary schools and ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions in the coun­try and thou­sands of stu­dents caught are either dis­missed or made to re­peat the classes.

Aca­demic dis­hon­esty, in­clud­ing cheat­ing, widely prac­ticed by stu­dents pose a se­ri­ous prob­lem across schools and cam­puses while ed­u­ca­tion­ists have over­looked the strate­gies adopted by stu­dents in cheat­ing.

Des­per­ate par­ents have paid huge sums of monies to ta­lented per­sons to take ex­ams on be­half of their wards and sev­eral par­ents and teach­ers have con­nived with ex­am­i­na­tion of­fi­cers to steal an­swers to both in-class and ex­ter­nal tests. There were in­stances in which men were caught writ­ing ex­ams for their girl­friends.

One stu­dent of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Univer­sity Bauchi (ATBU) said ex­am­i­na­tion mal­prac­tice had as­sumed a frightening di­men­sion in schools. She said stu­dents smug­gle cheat pa­pers and text­books into ex­am­i­na­tion cen­ters and copy di­rectly from them. “Dur­ing our first se­mes­ter ex­am­i­na­tion early this year, one 500 level fe­male stu­dent of the busi­ness man­age­ment depart­ment was caught cheat­ing. She wrote an­swers in her skirt and was found copy­ing di­rectly from there. She was ar­rested and ex­pelled.”

She said stu­dents have writ­ten ex­ams for their friends and have got­ten away with it; the few ones ar­rested have been pun­ished. They have adopted many meth­ods to cheat in ex­ams with­out se­cu­rity per­son­nel de­tect­ing them.

There were other stu­dents who also look at some­one else’s ex­ams sheets and copy from them but they are hardly iden­ti­fied if there is over­crowd­ing at ex­am­i­na­tion cen­ters, she added.

An­other stu­dent of Ah­madu Bello Univer­sity, Zaria, said a man was caught writ­ing the sec­ond se­mes­ter ex­am­i­na­tion for his girl­friend in 2014.

He said, “The man was ar­rested cheat­ing dur­ing mass com­mu­ni­ca­tion ex­ams and iron­i­cally, he was not even a stu­dent of this univer­sity. He was taken to a po­lice sta­tion and pros­e­cuted. As for the girl in ques­tion, I haven’t set my eyes on her again.”

He said stu­dents found cheat­ing in ex­ams are made to face dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tees and those found guilty are either ex­pelled or made to re­peat a ses­sion, de­pend­ing on the of­fense, adding that the man­age­ment does not turn a deaf ear to cases of ex­ams mal­prac­tice no mat­ter the sta­tus of those in­volved.

Not only do stu­dents cheat in ex­ams but they also steal the dis­ser­ta­tions of pre­vi­ous stu­dents, an act that sti­fles cre­ativ­ity and de­feats the pur­pose of ed­u­ca­tion. Stu­dents en­gaged in pla­gia­rism or copy­ing the work of oth­ers face se­vere pun­ish­ment if found.

The Vice Chan­cel­lor of the Na­tional Open Univer­sity of Nige­ria (NOUN), Pro­fes­sor Vin­cent Ado Tenebe, said the univer­sity had adopted far reach­ing mea­sures to tackle un­fore­seen chal­lenges in­clud­ing ex­ams cheat­ing. He said com­puter soft­ware was be­ing used to de­tect any case of pla­gia­rism.

De­spite ex­am­i­na­tion mal­prac­tice Act 33 of 1999 that stip­u­lates pun­ish­ment rang­ing from fine of N50, 000.00 to N 100, 000.00 and im­pris­on­ment for a term of 3-4 years with or with­out op­tion of fine, this trend has be­come an epi­demic in the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem. It is not lim­ited to pri­vate or gov­ern­ments schools. It is every­where. Schools pro­pri­etors al­legedly in­duce in­vig­i­la­tors while par­ents bribe teach­ers to al­lo­cate marks to their chil­dren.

Lec­tur­ers al­legedly ask for grat­i­fi­ca­tion from stu­dents either in kind or in cash while men have writ­ten ex­ams for their girl­friends, one exam of­fi­cial said. The of­fi­cial, who pleaded for anonymity, said peo­ple are hired to write school cer­tifi­cate ex­ams on be­half of ‘lazy stu­dents.’

In her pa­per ti­tled Check­ing Ex­am­i­na­tion Mal­prac­tice in Nige­rian Schools, Dr. A.O. Ore­dein, Se­nior lec­turer, In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tion, Olabisi On­a­banjo Univer­sity, AgoI­woye, said the rea­sons for ex­am­i­na­tion mal­prac­tice “in­cluded the low moral stan­dard in schools, can­di­dates fear of fail­ure, lack of con­fi­dence in them­selves, in­ad­e­quate prepa­ra­tion, lazi­ness and ‘419’ syn­drome that have eaten deep into the fab­rics of the so­ci­ety.”

Some univer­sity lec­tur­ers are of the opin­ion that in­ad­e­quate teach­ing and learn­ing fa­cil­i­ties, poor con­di­tions of ser­vice of teach­ers fear of fail­ure by stu­dents and ad­mis­sion of un­qual­i­fied can­di­dates into uni­ver­si­ties are re­spon­si­ble for ex­am­i­na­tion mal­prac­tices.

In his pa­per pre­sented at the stake­hold­ers’ fo­rum on ris­ing in­tegrity in the con­duct of ex­am­i­na­tions in the Nige­rian ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem re­cently, Dr Malami Umar Tam­buwal from fac­ulty of Ed­u­ca­tion and Ex­ten­sion Ser­vices, Us­man Dan­fodiyo Univer­sity, Sokoto, stated that the de­sire of some par­ents to help their chil­dren is one of the rea­sons for ex­am­i­na­tion mal­prac­tice in the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem.

He said some par­ents would blindly want their chil­dren to get into ‘lu­cra­tive cour­ses’ like medicine, ac­coun­tancy, law etc. as such would col­lide with any per­son who can at all cost get their chil­dren the re­quired cred­its.

Par­ents es­pe­cially of wards in pri­vate and spe­cial­ized schools, threaten pro­pri­etors of with­drawal of chil­dren or clo­sure of schools if their chil­dren do not make ex­cel­lent re­sults, he stated.

Ac­cord­ing to him, other rea­sons in­clude high stakes of ex­am­i­na­tions, teacher and school sta­tus, per­son­al­ity dis­po­si­tion, in­ad­e­qua­cies of the ex­am­i­na­tions, in­ad­e­quate school fa­cil­i­ties and teach­ers, lo­ca­tion of ex­am­i­na­tion cen­ters, low salary level, re­spect for cer­tifi­cate, and threat and in­tim­i­da­tion of par­ents.

But Mr. Dan­ladi Idris, an ed­u­ca­tion­ist, said that in­ca­pac­ity of some lec­tures and teach­ers is one of the ma­jor causes of ex­am­i­na­tion mal­prac­tice.

He said lec­tur­ers hardly fin­ish most of their course out­line for an aca­demic se­mes­ter be­fore giv­ing ex­am­i­na­tions to the stu­dents, in some cases, the “lec­tur­ers even go to the ex­tent of giv­ing ex­am­i­na­tions to the stu­dents even in the ar­eas that they did not teach the stu­dents for that aca­demic year.”

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Ore­dein, the only so­lu­tion to ex­am­i­na­tion mal­prac­tice is that all staff of ex­am­i­na­tion bod­ies should be well paid.

He said, “What­ever may be the case, ex­am­i­na­tion mal­prac­tice has eroded our ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem. It has be­come an epi­demic. There­fore, there is need for all stake­hold­ers to come to­gether and take se­ri­ous mea­sures to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion.”

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