The Federal Government has expressed concern over the low number of convictions recorded in cases of examination malpractice in the country.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Andrew Adejoh, made this known on Friday in Abuja at a one-day sensitization workshop on examination malpractice in Nigeria organised by the National Examinations Council (NECO) in collaboration with the National Assembly.
Adejoh, who was represented by the Director of Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Education, Zubairu Abdullahi, said the government at various times came up with laws to check the menace of exam malpractices which are yet to yield the desired result.
He listed 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.
“The effectiveness of these measures is highly debatable more so that not many have gone to jail because of examination malpractices. I suggest we look into our laws.”
He, however, commended NECO and other exam bodies in the country for deploying technology to combat the menace, saying the move has recorded big success.
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, said the workshop 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 boss said the event was to sensitize stakeholders on the ills of malpractice, which he described as the biggest challenges bedeviling 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, the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, lamented that examination malpractice is 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 into the business of aiding and abetting exam malpractices, adding that such behaviour portends danger for 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.
On his part, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, expressed the readiness of Nigeria’s armed forces to fully join in the fight against examination malpractice.
“The armed forces are fully with NECO in this fight. We must work the talk as exam malpractice can destroy many things in the country,” Irabor, represented by Chief of Defence Administration, Rear Admiral Muhammad Nagenu, said.