By Abubakar Umar
Examination malpractice is the intentional wrong doing contrary to official examination rules aimed at putting a candidate at an unfair advantage. It is a hydra headed monster that is gradually destroying the future of our children. The examination malpractice act (1999) explains examination as any act of omission or commission by a person who in anticipation of before, during or after any examination fraudulently secure any unfair advantage for himself or any other person in such a manner that contravenes the rules and regulations to the extent of undermining the validity, reliability, authenticity of the examination and ultimately the integrity of the certificate issued.
Based on the above definitions above, it is clear that examination malpractice tends to give undeserved advantage or grade to the perpetrators of the act. Examination malpractice involves many collaborators among which are; supervisors, invigilators, examiners, staff of examination bodies, parents, guardians and many people that are connected with the perpetrators. The forms of examination malpractice include;
Impersonation, a situation whereby another candidate hire mercenary to sit for examination on behalf of the original candidate, it may be male candidate sitting for a female candidate or vice versa, twins may also write for each other. Inscriptions, this is a form of malpractice has risen to the level of inscribing materials or information on anything, like parts of the body such as palms, thighs, and materials like handkerchiefs, rulers, and other materials that are portable. Candidates may also connive among themselves or with examination officials by copying from another candidate. Examination officials may also leak the examination question to intending candidates, parents or dubious school managers prior to the examination time. Science and technology aided malpractice, this portray a situation where candidates enter examination hall with science, and technology gadgets such as scientific calculator, smart phones, laptops, compact disc, and other scientific instruments. For examination that involves multiple choice questions candidates inside examination hall received answers through handsets from argents outside the geographical location. So many other forms of examination malpractice not mention above are employed by desperate candidates.
Examination malpractice can bring about loss of credibility, any country that refuse to fight examination malpractice would automatically forfeit international credibility, this implies that documents and certificate that comes from this country would be treated with suspicion as is the case with many countries today, and this portrays the educational system of such country with bad image.
The wide spread of examination question leakages in the West African Senior Secondary School Examination (WSSCE) in the 70’s which attracted public outcry leads to setting up of commission of inquiry headed by Mr. Sogbetu to examine the remote causes of the leakage, and suggest appropriate measures. After a thorough work the commission recommended the establishment of an indigenous examination body to compliment the effort of the West African Examination Council (WEAC). This gave birth to the establishment of the National Examination Council (NECO) with the mandate of conducting Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE), Basic Certificate Examination (BECE), and the National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE).
With this development the National Examinations Council (NECO) came up with stringent measures aimed at tackling the spread of Examination Malpractice which is yielding desired result. The arrival of Professor Dantani Wushishi as the registrar, and chief executive has further cemented the resolve of NECO to eradicate Examination Malpractice by organizing more capacity building workshops, prompt delivery of examination materials to the various custodian points across the country which ensures commencement of examinations at the stipulated time thereby preventing leakages. Use of biometric machines to check impersonation. The registrar also ensures that all examinations conducted by NECO are monitored by senior staff of the council and university lecturers. Culprits of examination malpractice are punished according to the council rules. The use of security personals in the conduct of Senior Secondary Certificate Examination.
To be able to position herself in confronting the menace of examination malpractice, NECO requires fund, unfortunately the federal government decision of deducting 25% from NECO treasury single account is making it impossible to deal with this monster. Most of the utility vehicles that NECO is using to distribute sensitive examination materials are incapacitated which is making it difficult to check leakages. There is a limited resource available to take care of the allowances of numerous monitoring officers, and security personals that risk their lives to protect the integrity of the nation education system. The council needs more biometric machines to cover more fresh schools that were accredited to take NECO examinations. To crown it all NECO needs state of the art facilities to execute her mandate effectively.
Despite the limited resources the registrar, and the entire staff of NECO are leaving no stone unturned in fighting examination malpractice, recently the registrar appealed to members of staff to be patience as the federal government is considering the stoppage of the 25% deduction.
ABUBAKAR UMAR Department of Examination Development National Examination Council