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Exam malpractice: FG berates low conviction rate

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Promise Odejide

Federal Government has condemned the number of examination malpractice cases convicted by court over the years, saying it is not commendable.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Andrew Adejoh, expressed this concern Friday in Abuja at a one-day sensitization workshop on examination malpractice in Nigeria courtesy of the National Examinations Council (NECO) in partnership with the National Assembly.

Speaking on behalf of Adejoh, the Director of Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Education, Zubairu Abdullahi, noted that government had tried different legal mechanisms to address examination malpractices but no solution in sight yet.

He enumerated some of the laws to include: “The decree 20 of 1984 prescribing 21 years imprisonment upon conviction and the amended Examination Malpractice Act of 1991 which seek five year jail term or a fine of N250, 000.

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“The effectiveness of these measures aare highly debatable more so that not many has gone to jail because of examination malpractices. I suggest we look into our laws.”

The Permanent Secretary, however, praised NECO and other examination bodies for exploring technology to the vice, saying the move has yielded positive results .

Also speaking at the event, which has its theme as : ‘The Role of Education Stakeholders in Tackling Malpractice in Nigeria,’ Registrar/Chief Executive of NECO, Professor Ibrahim Dantani Wushishi, revealed that the sensitisation on malpractice began in Lagos and proceeded to Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, before finally taking place in Abuja under the first phase of the campaign.

The NECO head stated that the event waa organised to educate stakeholders on the dark sides of malpractice, which according to him, has greatly affected the conduct of public examinations in Nigeria.

“Examination malpractice has the tendency to discourage hard work among serious students, lowers educational standards, discredit certificates, and lead to the production of quacks, thereby affecting the manpower needs of the nation.

“We must therefore take collective responsibility to rid them of this bad habit of wanting to cut corners,” he said.

On her part, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, described examination malpractice as away of ruining the educational system of credibility.

“Examination malpractice is one practice that can completely ruin our education system of credibility. We therefore have a task to ensure that we rescue the soul of our educational system from the stretch hold of examination malpractice.

“It is the responsibility of every stakeholder in the education sub sector of our national economy to rise to the challenge of arresting the monster called examination malpractice before it causes more damage to our educational system.

“Managers of the education subsector should ensure the culprits should be punished and those who did well should also be appreciated to encourage them. Law enforcement and anti-craft agencies should continue to lay their helping hands and step up support for the fight against examination malpractice,” she said.

Also speaking, the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, said some parents and schools are contributing surge of examination malpractices, saying such behaviour is dangerous to the future of the country.

“In fact, the school authorities connive with others to carry out these acts. As we speak, in my constituency, schools are correcting between 50-60 thousand for those who want to register for WAEC or NECO. For WAEC, the exam fee is N18,000 but they are collecting from N45, 000 to N60, 000.

“We need to design how we can bring these institutions down and sanctions must be very severe,” he said.

In his speech, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, said the Nigerian military to combat the menace of examination malpractice.

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