Written by: Odidi, a public affairs analyst, sent this piece from Lagos.
Barely three decades ago, when a secondary student passed his or her West African Examination Council (WAEC) papers at a credit level in one sitting, such a student got instant commendation or a scholarship from the government or a private institution to study abroad. Some of the brilliant students had the opportunity to write A levels and were given automatic scholarships to study outside the country which made some prominent Nigerians beneficiaries of government scholarships then, but today, only few are given scholarships with strict scrutiny.
It was a joy to see your child then having five credits including the two compulsory subjects– Mathematics and English Language– at the WAEC examination. Students then were always determined to burn their midnight candles for any examination while their parents were ready to provide all available modalities for their children to pass their examinations without qualms. It is sad that parents are now aiding and abetting examination malpractice while government institutions are the major players of these caustic and corrosive vices in Nigeria.
In spite of the different government examination bodies set up by the Federal Government to tackle the increase in the number of students writing examinations in Nigeria, the law enforcement agencies have abysmally failed to prevent the excesses of examinations in public and private schools, the scourge has reached frightening levels. The econometrics of bringing NECO was to tackle the massive failures and irregularities of WEAC examinations in Nigeria, but the reverse is now the case. Students no longer take their studies seriously because of the so-called failed educational policies in the country.
Despite the fact that the Federal Government has many a time changed the ministers of education in order to overhaul the educational system, the examination malpractice is at the mercy of God. On many occasions, the National Universities Commission (NUC) has banned some universities from running degree programmes due to lack of accreditation of some courses in their universities. Even students that are dullest are gaining admissions into the nation’s universities without stress. It is now ridiculous to see dull students having excellent grades in their WAEC, GCE and NECO examinations and the funny part of it is that these students cannot spell their names or write simple sentences in English. To some extent, some graduates now have first and second class upper degrees that they cannot defend.
The United Nations’ 26 per cent GDP goal for education in Nigeria is yet to be put into consideration while the exodus of Nigerian students to foreign universities is becoming a source of concern. It was recently reported in one of the dailies that the school fees paid by Nigerian students in Ghanaian universities are very outrageous. This is a sad commentary on Nigeria’s political leadership. No country grows economically if its education system is not given serious attention.
The falling standard of education in Nigeria is one major problem affecting the education system in the sense that policy formulators have compromised over time. Even our private and public schools are nothing to write home about. In private setting today, a teacher cannot discipline any student without permission from the owner of the school. If a teacher does that, he or she will get a sack letter from the school authorities.
Though the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had tried many a time to raise the standard, but those sent to supervise these examination centres and many school owners across the country are major perpetrators of these examination malpractices in Nigeria.
Paper qualification is another cause of examination malpractice in Nigeria in the sense that there is much emphasis on certificate than theoretical knowledge. It makes students to have more drive for certificates than acquiring knowledge. We must discourage the drive for paper qualification so as not to make mockery of our educational system in Nigeria. Some people who are not university graduates today performed better in their theoretical knowledge.
Finally, if examination malpractice must be curtailed in the country, then government must be ready to decentralise the education sector, while adequate funds should be given to the sector. The government must de-emphasise paper qualification so that every student that gains admission into the universities or polytechnics must know that hard work is the key to academic success in life. Our private universities must also be monitored in order to prevent examination malpractice. Education is the key to success in life.
Source: Nigerian Tribune