We have always called attention to the rot in our educational sector. The authorities and other stakeholders appear to be digging deeper into a place where there is no return. Every effort to reform the way we conduct examinations or prevent malpractices have failed because parents, guardians and their wards always find new ways to cheat the system. It has become utterly pathetic. The cheats devise new strategies to carry out their nefarious activities year in year out. They have gotten better with every win against the system and have grown more in capacity and confidence, especially those who have taken it as a thriving business and raked in millions by milking desperate and fraudulent students and their parents and helping them manipulate the system and fraudulently scaling the Senior School Certificate Examination and the University Matriculation Examination. And because of their actions, tertiary institutions have continued to admit students lacking the necessary capacity and work ethics and graduate unemployable degree holders.
Nevertheless, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB has taken a bold decision to stamp out examination malpractice as it relates to entrance examination into tertiary institutions. Of late, the examination body has investigated, tracked and clamped down on men and women who have become ‘professional’ examination cheats, who register and write exams for not one but multiple candidates every year. These crooks are well organised and operate ‘miracle centres’ where children of those who are equally fraudulent and can afford their services are helped to make the much-needed points that would get them admission into the university. Reports recently revealed that hundreds of such mercenaries from different parts of the country have been caught and efforts are ongoing to apprehend others, including parents who will stop at nothing to see that their children are admitted into higher institutions by all means, fair or foul. These parents are part of the syndicate and, in most cases, are actually the ones who seek out those to write the exams for their children and wards. We can no longer continue like this.
As a newspaper, we are totally against any form of exam malpractice; it kills the soul of our country. The fallout is enormous. It damages merit and hard work in all ramifications and beneficiaries continue the cheating throughout their lives. To this end, we call on the authorities to extend arrests and prosecution to candidates and their parents. Parents and wards who pay or help seek out mercenaries for their kids must be similarly prosecuted and jailed. Enough is enough.
We support everything JAMB is doing to make sure that the menace is reduced to its barest minimum. We are well aware of the consequences of examination malpractice in any government system and are in complete agreement with every measure JAMB is taking to make sure that those who uphold corruption in the nation’s examination system are stopped in their tracks.
Is it not shameful that weeks after the last examination, JAMB has been unable to release the result owing to cheating around the country? People still cheated even where they knew there were cameras in the examination halls. This is no longer just cheating, this has become culture and its distressing. At the highest level of governance in the country, we need to sit and take serious steps to stem this menace. The truth is that such candidates can count on the fact that once all the bad eggs are gathered and taken out, the system would begin to normalise for the good of every well-meaning Nigerian.
Examination malpractice has been there for as long as people started writing tests. Folks cheat in practically every human endeavour where there is competition, so it is not unexpected that people would attempt to cheat at examinations. Notwithstanding, it should not be encouraged by anyone or ignored and allowed to continue in schools or wherever examinations are conducted. The same seriousness applied in fighting other kinds of fraud should be applied in combating examination fraud. Those who cheat at examinations are most likely going to cheat in other areas of human activity.
At this point, we urge other examination bodies to sit up. There is no good when a candidate scores straight As in NECO or WAEC but cannot make 200 marks in JAMB. Something must have gone wrong. So, other bodies must join this fight. It has reached epidemic level. They must look within their systems and identify loopholes through which such manipulators find their way to commit such illegalities, and shut them out for good. When such is done, students would be forced to work hard for their grades and that would not only prepare them for their academic career but also develop them as future leaders of our country. Our nation is in dire need of ethical leadership.