Men accused of writing exams for girlfriends
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.”