Chairperson of West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), Dr Evelyn Kandakai, has said the persistence of examination malpractice and its devastating effects on educational assessment and evaluation, in the sub-region have worsened with the advent of Social Media.
She stated this at the Maiden Edition of the body’s two-day International Summit on Examination Malpractice organized by the Board, in Lagos, tagged; ‘Examination Malpractice: The Contemporary Realities and Antidotes’.
Dr. Kandakai said the social ill has been a challenge for the Council, noting that the Board has intensified its fight against examination malpractice.
“We have made frantic appeals to all stakeholders in the education sector to partner us in the fight against this scourge that is endangering the quality of academic achievements and human capital development in our sub-region. Schools, Society and WAEC are all suspects”.
Dr Kandakai described the consequences of examination malpractice on National Development as critical, adding that its effect on National Economy was destructive.
She expressed displeasure that School Authorities and Teachers have continued to create a favourable environment for the social ill to thrive.
“Some parents have continued to assist their children physically and financially to cheat in public examinations. Misguided candidates desperately seek short cuts to examination success while their depraved adult collaborators carry out their nefarious activities for financial gains”.
WAEC Registrar, Dr Iyi Uwadiae, in his address, cited measures, such as cancellation of candidate’s result, de-recognition of schools amongst others, which have been put in place by the body in curbing the menace.
He however lamented that perpetrators have continued to devise new ways of carrying out their acts, but expressed hope that the summit would be used to set the stage, for the eradication of examination malpractice.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, represented by Mohammed Kaarege, the Director, Basic and Secondary Education, Federal Ministry of Education, described examination malpractice as a challenge to the five member countries of WAEC, especially with the arrival of Social Media and Smart Phones.
He stated that the Federal Government would intensify efforts to build self-confidence among pupils and inculcate virtues of hard work in them.
Mr Adamu also mentioned that the Government would sensitize the Nigerian Society on the damages of exam malpractice and its negative effect on national development.
“The two-day summit is to provide examination bodies with measures and innovation to turn public examination into a fraud-free examination.
“Nigeria in particular, and I think Government of other sub-regions in Africa, are determined to eradicate corruption of which examination malpractice is a form of corruption”.
The five member Countries of WAEC are; Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gambia.
In a related development, a Lawmaker representing Ebonyi Central, Senator Obinna Ogba, said some Parents, in their quest for automatic placement of their children into tertiary schools, engage in acts which lead to increase in the social ill.
“They mount all sorts of pressures on the examiners and the supervisors in order to have their children cheat during examination in one form or the other.
“If this is not tackled, we can keep holding this kind of summit from now till eternity all to no avail.
“This is a war that all of us must fight. Our appeal is for our parents to have a rethink and desist from this act in order to bring an end to the menace”.
West African Examinations Council, WAEC, said Nigeria has the highest level of examination malpractices among the five countries. Kogi has the highest rate of examination malpractice with 22.53%.
It is often the case that while some candidates are in the hall, in readiness to commence an examination, some other candidates are scattered outside preparing the answers to the already leaked questions gotten from various Social Media platforms.
Ethiopian Government has blocked the use of Social Media by students, especially during examinations. There is also a similar ban by the Algerian Government, in an attempt to fight cheating students in Secondary Schools.