Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufa’I
Tackles examination malpractices
The House of Representatives Tuesday summoned the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufa’i and officials of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over an impending strike by university lecturers in the country.
Lecturers in Nigeria’s ivory towers had in December last year downed tools for one week in protest over the apparent refusal of the Federal Government to implement an earlier agreement it signed with the teachers.
In furtherance of their agitation, ASUU had recently reminded the government that it would soon mobilise its members for a full scale industrial action.
The ultimatum expires in nine days.
The duo were invited to meet with members of the House Committee on Education as part of the moves by the legislature to avert the looming strike.
It followed a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Hon. Bashir Babale (PDP/ Kano) and unanimously endorsed by his colleagues.
Babale said it had become worrisome that university lecturers frequently embark on strikes to compel the government to meet its obligations.
He observed that the issues at the root of the crisis were matters that had been agreed upon by both parties in the interest of tertiary education in Nigeria.
The lawmaker urged the House to intervene in the crisis and avert the impending strike.
Other lawmakers who contributed to the debate, argued that democracy cannot survive without good education.
They warned that it would be wrong for the government to continue to treat its 2009 agreement with ASUU with levity.
In a related development, the House yesterday mandated its Committee on Education to conduct an investigative public hearing on the menace of examination malpractices in tertiary education institutions in Nigeria.
The investigation is meant to establish the adequacy of existing examination redress mechanisms in federal universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria.
It would also evaluate the reliability of subsisting examination processes, internal control mechanisms in these tertiary institutions; establish and evaluate the time-lag between the time examinations are taken and when results of such examinations are released to candidates in tertiary institutions.
The investigation will also determine the reported case studies of examination malpractices in tertiary institutions within the last five years.
The investigation whose report is expected in eight weeks came on the heels of a motion sponsored by the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon. Rose Oko.
In the lead debate, Oko noted that the low rating and negative perception of the quality and credibility of degrees and certificates awarded by Nigerian tertiary institutions was largely due to the incidents of examination malpractices.
She argued that this low rating of certificates awarded by these institutions pose grave limitations to the prospects of Nigerian youths and constrain their career advancement and exposure to opportunities for outstanding global accomplishments.
The lawmaker expressed concern that the absence of reliable examinations malpractices redress mechanism in these tertiary institutions has also been partly responsible for the low industrial rating and high incidence of graduate unemployment in the country.