By Omar Muaz
Education is made simple to learners in countries like America — where parents, teachers and the government are fully involved in the education of their citizens — and the other African countries as; Ethiopia, where its education is private and stressed religion as schools teach modesty, humility and dedication to persistent pursuit of thoroughness and Libya, where education is free for all people, schools are everywhere and for its nomads are mobile schools. Unlike Nigeria, where parents, teachers and even the government have little or no concern for the education of their citizens.
This is seen when some parents do not know the progress of their children in school, do not attend parents/teachers association meeting, do not buy required study materials for their children, etc. The teachers on the other hand, do not use the curriculum judiciously, pay adequate attention to slow learners and spend half of the school hours on personal issues etc. The worst, the government allocation for education, in both federal and the state level, is inadequate, poor facilities for effective teaching and learning process, poor salaries for the primary and the secondary school teachers, etc all make learning very difficult and contribute greatly to the recent massive failure in Jamb 2021.
Although, most of the Nigerian students believe it, the purpose of examination, otherwise, it’s actually meant to help in diagnosing the students’ strengths and weaknesses. It provides feedback on the students’ progress to both teacher and the students to show how effectively the teacher has taught and to diagnose those areas which have not been well learnt. When it’s perceived as a do-or-die affair, then it opts the students to get involved in examination malpractice. To fail in exams doesn’t mean one is totally down, it however means there are some weaknesses that one needs to surmount.
If not insurgency which aims at destroying every sector with no exception of educational sector, government’s lackadaisicality towards the section and the parents’ indifferent attitudes towards the education of their children, nothing kills education in Nigeria more than examination malpractice.
Because traditional Nigerian education placed little or no emphasis on certification, students had the proper view of education, seeing it as a means to an end not an end in itself. Besides, the Nigerian culture then frowned at dishonesty and would not hesitate to sanction offenders (Agogo, 2006). According to Ejiogu (2001), general moral decadence and the high premium placed on achievement and certificates by Nigerians has in recent times spawned examination fraud. The general overdependence on educational certificates as a measure of one’s knowledge and competence has led to a mad rush by most people for educational certificates (Sofola, 2004). In a bid to acquire such certificates, many have resorted to unethical means — foremost among which are examination malpractices — just to acquire the certificates at all cost.
Research shows that examination malpractices discourage students from hard work, low productivity and poor job performances, bribery, corruption, and certificate racketeering. In Nigeria, more especially public schools, students are likely to have F9 in all the nine subjects they sat for if examination malpractice is to be critically put into halt because they believe that they can’t pass WAEC/NECO without using sites as Ceebook to take the exam.
The Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) is a Nigerian entrance examination board for tertiary-level institutions. Jamb is one of the examinations, if not only, in which examination malpractice cases are seldom recorded. Students fail it more than they fail WAEC/NECO because it’s believed that the board, unlike the West African Examination Council and the National Examination Council’s boards, works hard to curtail the menace which some baptized with esoteric aliases as symbiosis, mgbo, help, memory backup, mercenary, missiles, giraffing, dubbing, xeroxing etc as quilled from MA Na Kumo’s piece titled; Secondary Schools and Examination Malpractice in Nigeria.
Hitherto, Jamb is yet to release, officially, the percentage of the failures. There are, already, write ups from all the nook and crannies, on the social platforms on the massive failures. There are at least three parties with different opinions of who is to blame. The first party opined that the students are to blame, the second party blamed government and the board while the third party put the blame on the teachers who obviously lead the sector as it’s said; It’s the teacher that makes the difference, not the classroom. – Michael Morpurgo
Abduljalal Musa Aliyu, a primary school teacher, argued on his Facebook timeline, “You should blame the government, not the teacher, he did not employ himself.” He furthered, “I am a primary school teacher. I am not the one to brag, but, from primary 1-6, I’ll teach every single class perfectly in every single subject even when I am half asleep. But, do you know when I was paid May Salary? On 24th of this month. And guess what, almost 10,000 was deducted from my salary without any explanation. So, cut these school teachers some slack and blame your government for making teaching the most unattractive job in this country.
In some states here, the salary of a primary school teacher at level 8 is not up to twenty five thousand Naira. This same teacher is probably married with five children, you think he would have time to prepare any lesson plan to teach his students? Who would feed his children, cloth them and pay their hospital bills? This man would probably go to the market immediately school is closed and get back home in the night, sleep, wake up in the morning and move back to the school, again.”
Maryam Bukar alias Alhanislam, an ICT graduate from Radford university college, graduating at the age of 19 with a second class upper degree, who doesn’t normally write in relation to trending issues like usual social and political punches but poetry and some other literary chits, was caught by this saga and couldn’t escape it. She said “In addition, I can silently walk away with it, this I know for sure if I say I don’t blame the ‘BOARD’, you know, but the students.” Meanwhile, the literary expert blames the students.
Aisha Kabu Damboa, Daddy’s Girl, opined that the teachers, more especially those in the public schools, should share the blame alongside the students. She narrated, “I remember I used to have an English teacher who cannot construct one sentence in English during my primary 4 and 5. Someone who spent nearly 8 years to complete a diploma of 2 years in polytechnic. Some of us can’t speak and write good English because we are taught by people like them.”
Today, for students to pass external examinations as Jamb, there’s the need to stop examination malpractices. If a country fails to uphold the tenets of a proper education for its citizens, all they would be left with is half baked individuals being churned out of its educational institutions. As seen ahead, in most African countries, comparatively, Nigeria have faced the problem of not being able to cater for the educational needs of their citizens irrespective of the many private and public schools at all levels of learning.
I can say this repeatedly that beside insurgency which aims at destroying every sector with no exception of educational sector, government’s lackadaisicality towards the section and the parents’ indifferent attitudes towards the education of their children, nothing kills education in Nigeria more than examination malpractice.
If the government could assure the provision of qualified teachers in our schools and improve their welfarism, and parents could ensure that their children and wards are not only getting the best tutoring but are also studying hard for any upcoming examinations, then, teachers would definitely teach effectively. With effective teaching and learning and students’ prior experiences and their intellectual, emotional, social, physical, aesthetic, moral and spiritual development would be the cornerstones of Nigeria’s education system, just as Namibia’s or more. Meanwhile, it’s a collective duty on the government, parents, teachers and the students and thus, in difficult and trying moment as this, they are to take the blame together.
Omar Muaz can be reached via email@example.com