By Gloria Ibesi
Things have gone really sore, many things are wrong with the Nigerian Educational System. Hard works no longer pay as malpractices prevail. It didn’t begin today. Many have deplored and tried in the past to combat this irregularity but it rather has gotten worse and eaten deep into the academic integrity of our country, the students, teachers, parents, including the educational stakeholders.
These days, Nigeria scarcely produce graduates in different levels of education who can beat their chests and say I did it! in real sense of it. It is no longer news that answers for certificate examinations are now being sold and paid for, prior to exams. Things have graduated from the era when people rush to pay other people in secret to impersonate then in exams or go to register in some schools, most often, located in far away remote places, popularly known as Special Centres to take external exams in order to be able to cheat.
Gone are the days when students have to smuggle notebooks, text books and mobile phones to examination halls in order to carry out examination malpractice. These days, exam malpractices happen almost in every school not just by students but on the teachers’ watch and has been treated as norm.
The Ordinary level otherwise known as O’level Examination Certificates which are issued to students at the end of secondary school studies marking the end of the academic journey are now rarely awarded according to the students performance but rather, according to how much the students and the school are willing to pay for what you may call ‘express expo’. This money is distributed from the external supervisor to the external examiners and to some other officials in charge of the conduct of the examinations.
What is held as O’level Examinations, the likes of WAEC now SSCE, NECO, NABTEB and GCE, are no longer what they used to be in Nigeria. Students no longer burn midnight candles in preparation for external examinations. On the Contrary, just like we see in most higher institutions where asides school fees and exam registration fees, students pay extra money to pass their exams.
Where most times the extra money is paid by lazy students who do not desire studying to pass exams, in some cases they are imposed on all students not minding their performances, failure of which they are flunked.
In the same way, some secondary school students, when due to get into the SS 3 class, just register for their O’level exams, pull out of school to hustle for money for malpractice which becomes more imperative to them than studying.
Nowadays, many parents, other than the ones who already indulge in the culture of buying their children’s way through school, are caused to be part of this immoral act by giving their children money to pay for malpractice when they are made to believe that it is the only way their child can make good grades to proceed to the university without which the child may fail the exam regardless of his or her abilities.
It is so sad to learn that many individuals now use this secondary school certificate examination periods as time for enriching their pockets. People establish schools with the aim of running special centres that assist students in passing their exams through colluding with exam officers. Teachers are always eager to be supervisors during these exams, so as to get their own share of the money. Those who are supposed to fight this criminality are the ones backing it.
Few weeks back my cousin in SS 2 dialed my number using her Mum’s phone only to tell me that she will soon be in SS 3 and she needs a phone to use for her WAEC Exam. I was dumbfounded and disappointed at the outlook of our generation presently on Education. Students now believe that there are other ways to writing and passing the O’level Examinations other than studying hard. And truly, the ones who engage in those acts end up sailing through their papers, which demoralizes and discourages the few intelligent and hardworking ones who still wish to study.
An SS 3 student who I recently engaged in a conversation said they pay some amount of money for every paper they write depending on the subject. ‘We paid #2000 for papers like Government, CRS, Civic Education, Igbo and #3000 for Mathematics, English, Chemistry, Physics, and some others plus the practicals. Some of our teachers solve the exam questions and distribute the answers to us in the exam hall. She added that the money is given to the supervisor to allow the students make use of their phones and cooperate among themselves as well as not prevent the teachers from helping the students during the exams.
This hideous act was mostly seen in private schools who struggle to gain popularity for their institutions. They admit students at any time to the exam classes. Some of the students never attend classes while others rarely pay attention to studies due to the assurance of making all their papers already given to them by the school. They charge them up to three times, the government stipulated amount for the registration of the exam, in order to cut every corners needed to achieve the unmerited excellent result for them. unfortunately, the mission schools are no longer spared.
Due to the fact that most parents want their children to pass the exams with good result in one sitting,. close to exam registration or after their SS 2, they withdraw them from their schools and register them in schools that are already known for making their papers. This continuous occurrence have driven other law abiding schools including some mission schools to compromise, instead of constantly losing their students.
The hidden truth however remains that, it is not the case that all the schools which end up with poor results did not perform well during the examinations. As was revealed by a source, the examination officials expect schools to pay some amount of money asides their students’ registration fee, to obtain good results, failure to which they will either record mass failures in one of the core subjects or have some of their results withheld or cancelled with the claim of the school being involved in malpractice thereby subjecting the future of our students to ridicule.
A write up by an unknown author which has been severally reposted in social media platforms titled ‘The Cry of a University Lecturer’ read: Dear secondary school teachers and school owners, please help the students and the public by ensuring that students in your school write examinations by themselves and merit the grades they brandish on their SSCE results.
We are tired of seeing students with A1 in Mathematics but cannot resolve the smallest of fraction. A student with distinctions in Physics and chemistry but knows next to nothing about chemical reactions or energy conversion, even simple chemical formula for water. I had to ask some of my UG1 students to look for a tutorial teacher to help them with JS 3 and SS1 Mathematics and Basic Science and Introduction to Chemistry.
The whole of them in my Organic Chemistry at College of Agricultural Science have excellent SSCE results and are visibly confused at the sight of any nomenclature of organic compounds. Their first semester performance betrayed the several A1s and B3s on the WAEC they carry about.
These students you help to acquire grades they can’t defend, are usually frustrated in the ivory tower. Save them a voyage of pain and regrets in the future by ensuring they are well tutored and allowed to prepare and write their examinations unaided.
More so, the aftermaths of all these exam malpractices are alarming. Some of these include Sex for marks and jobs, just because they can’t cope and compete with their colleagues who are real and better off. The urge for quick ànd sudden wealth to cover up their shame, just because they can’t cope and continue with the ‘stress’ of academia.
We all know how they intend to achieve the so called wealth and riches. Going into politics is another worse aspect of this. Please and please, Teachers, Parents, School Owners and Government Officials, let us all save our children from future embarrassment, disgrace, insults and eventual sudden fall just because of our own selfish and foolish interests’.
Being that the whole system has been perverted and the Nigerian academic mentality sullied, many sectors will continue to go south until this lunacy is corrected. Just an attempt to remind us that wrong can never be right, no matter how long it lasts.