We’ve heard so much about examination malpractice. We’ve even experienced first hand the long-term adverse effects of such. But you know, many of us fail to remember. Mathew Hassan Kukah (now Bishop of Sokoto Diocese) in his “Witness to Justice” calls this forgetfulness an ‘amnesia’- a lack of memory. So he says: “do not fail to remember” (Kukah, 2011, p. 7). Funny enough, the tendency to always ‘forget’ appears very much to be a Nigerian phenomenon.
I’m not doing an academic research. Neither am I interested in presenting a seminar/lecture. I only want to point out something – something that’s so rampart it has become a household brand; an academic dilemma, or perhaps I should call it a virus?
Have you ever asked yourself what good examinations malpractice can do for our country Nigeria? You’ve got to be kidding me. Who cares? What’s important is to get straight ‘A’s by merit or by crook. Right? After all the country doesn’t care about areas of specialisations. In Nigeria, bankers have degrees in fine and applied arts. Musicians probably graduated with degrees in engineering, biochemistry or laboratory science. Yes! Journalists have never been to formal training in communications studies… The list is endless. We’re are not saying this is always the case. But here in my country, the exception is the norm.
So let’s not assume that we know what exams malpractice is all about. With the emergence of the new media, malpractice has gone ‘digital’ (behold all things have become new); even malpractice. The world is now a global compound. Abi nah? Information now flies all over the place. Where students used to be content with ‘analog longnecking’ they now prefer ‘cyber longnecking’. Here, Google is the culprit. Yes. Google is the ultimate search machine. It’s more intelligent than the ‘malpractice experts’ hitherto hired. Google can get you answers from any site in the internet, faster than any ‘chukuli’, ‘expo’ or ‘key point bullets’.
But students aren’t supposed to have gadgets in the exam hall, are they? Oh! Not in Nigeria. Here, that law has exceptions. Haven’t you heard of ‘miracle centres’? Places where ‘sheep’ and ‘goats’ can register and sit for exams with assurance of making straight ‘A’s? Oh Yes! What about those security personnel that come to ensure that nothing fishy takes place during exams? Well, they still come around, but with a slightly different modus operandi. They come to ensure that those in ‘special exam halls’ within these miracle centers aren’t tampered with.
Maybe our only hope these days are the Catholic (and perhaps other Christian/Religious schools). Hmn! I wouldn’t be too quick to say that if I were you. In my time (‘my time’ is not the ‘good old days’ o. When was I born here?), my Rector would come into the hall during WAEC/NECO exams and tear your script to shreds if you so much as ‘longnecked’. How about now? Syndicates are being set up for ‘licit malpractice’ – the kind that is permissible; analog and digital alike.

Tell me! What do we do? We have graduates who aren’t worthy of the name. Our essays, seminar papers and theses are being recycled in our universities. The serious minded lecturers are pained to their bone marrows. The Nigerian Intelligentsia have all but lost hope. Even the academically ‘unserious’ now realise that this problem has metamorphosed rapidly in recent years. What’s the way forward?

How do we begin to teach our children from the grassroot levels the importance of education? How can teachers who are themselves half-baked offer any tangible insights? How can our ‘lazy’, ‘money-conscious’ teens discipline themselves to appropriate and appreciate rigorous studies? How can the average Nigerian student believe that genuine knowledge and research pays?

Friends, maybe I’ll offer some recommendations in my next write-up. For now it suffices to raise my voice in a loud acclaim: “STOP AND THINK!”