The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, has advised examination bodies in the country to incorporate ICT in the fight against examination malpractice.
Adamu said this at a one-day National Sensitisation Workshop on Examination Malpractice in Nigeria, organised by the National Examinations Council (NECO), in collaboration with the National Assembly.
The minister, represented by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, said malpractice was the major challenge affecting the conduct of major examinations in the country and globally.
“There is a need to adopt a multidimensional approach to the eradication of the ugly trend. If you know how to hide something, be prepared for people who know how to search and find those things,” he noted. “When we talk about examination malpractice, I will say it has gone haywire in some developed countries. Stakeholders, therefore, can only be useful in this fight if they themselves are not culpable.”
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr Andrew David Adejo, attributed the increasing examination malpractices to a poor value system.
He said other causes include the recruitment of unqualified and incompetent teachers, poor learning environment, poor study habits of students, as well as inadequate coverage of the syllabus. Adejo also identified connivances with and collaboration of agencies involved in the conduct of the examination.
According to him, legislative efforts by successive governments to criminalise examination malpractices began in 1984 during the military era through Decree 20 of 1984.
He cited the prescription of a 21-year prison term upon conviction and the amended Examination Malpractice Act of 1991, which stipulates five years jail term or a fine of N250,000.
The NECO Registrar, Prof Ibrahim Wushishi, noted that examination malpractice could discourage hard work among more serious students, lower the standard of education, and discredit certificates.
Some federal legislators at the event called for stiffer sanctions for offenders.
Prof Julius Ihonvbere, lawmaker representing Owan federal constituency, Edo, pointed out that many persons engaged in examination malpractice-related issues have yet to face the full wrath of the law.
“We should deploy ICT that can pick up examination cheats right there in the hall and then get them prosecuted maximally by giving them prison terms,” stated Ihonvbere. “Wave the age limit, give them a minimum fine of N1 million or go to jail, then people will know that it is no longer business as usual.”
Dr Akon Eyakenyi, a lawmaker representing Akwa Ibom South senatorial district, Akwa Ibom, lauded NECO for coming up with the programme, describing the theme as apt.