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Tackling Cases Of Malpractice In Our Examinations

A myriad of malpractices have continued to plague the conduct of internal and external examinations in Nigeria. Each year, examination bodies as the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) as well as the National Examinations Council (NECO) and the National Board for Technical Education (NABTEB) cancelled results of hundreds of thousands of candidates over alleged malpractices. Due to lack of proper preparation or confidence in their independent academic capabilities, some students device various strategies or sometimes aided by officials to cheat during examinations in a bid to make good grades. For instance, in July 2017, WAEC withheld the results of 214,952 candidates of the May/June West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE), over various reported cases of examination malpractice. Also, results of 14,756 candidates were withheld in the 2017 October/November WASSCE in connection with various cases of examination malpractice. Similarly, the results of 1,021 candidates, representing 9.03 per cent of the total candidates in the WASSCE for private candidates 2018-First Series were withheld over various reported cases of examination malpractice. In the 2020 WASSCE result released on November 2, 2020, the results of 215,149 candidates, representing 13.98 per cent of the total number of candidates that sat for the examination, were withheld in connection with various reported cases of examination malpractice, according to a statement by the head of WAEC National office, Patrick Areghan. Areghan said, "The cases are being investigated and reports of the investigations will be presented to the appropriate Committee of the Council for determination in due course." The 2020 results showed that about 1.338,358, representing 86.99 percent of 1.538,445 candidates, who sat for the 2020 WASSCE, obtained credit and above in a minimum of any five subjects with or without the compulsory English Language and Mathematics. Also, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, in 2017 withheld the results of 80,889 candidates who sat for the 2017 UTME over alleged examination malpractices. In 2018, JAMB said the results of 111,981 candidates who sat for the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) were withheld for "further screening" while it released 1,502,978 results. In 2019, JAMB registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, announced the delisting of 76 Computer-Based Test Centres for various infractions in the 2019 UTME. JAMB also appointed a SeniorAdvocate of Nigeria to prosecute about 100 persons arrested for involvement in various malpractices during the UTME of April 11 and 18, 2019, as captured on Closed Circuit Television Cameras. Irrespective of stringent provisions of the law and despite consistent condemnation of the menace, and attempts by examination bodies to raise the standard of examinations, examination malpractice has, undoubtedly, become a canker worm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of Nigeria's educational system, in all tiers, because some students, teachers, and parents are reluctant to change their minds and attitudes towards examinations. This year, it was feared that the performance of WASSCE candidates would be poor, due to the long closure of schools occasioned by the Covid-19 lockdown, but the examination body had allayed such fears pointing out that the postponement of the examination from April to August was an added advantage to the candidates as all learning and revisions should have been concluded by March if the examination was not postponed. As a way forward, students must be sensitized to know that hard work is the key to academic success and excellent future career. This means there must be a conscious determination and hard work by them to succeed in their educational pursuits. Parents should encourage their wards to face their studies squarely and work hard to earn their grades, while teachers should be more innovative to empower students to face examinations with confidence and pass well on their own. In addition, corrupt officials should be held responsible for their roles, while concerted efforts must be made to upgrade moribund educational facilities in public schools to promote teaching and learning. A lot more determined efforts must be made to deal with the menace of examination malpractice, and there should also be a collective responsibility to achieve zero malpractice in our examinations.

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