Author Topic: N9M SCANDAL SPURS FRESH DEBATE ON NON-PROSECUTION OF EXAM CHEATS  (Read 1357 times)

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N9M SCANDAL SPURS FRESH DEBATE ON NON-PROSECUTION OF EXAM CHEATS
« on: September 05, 2008, 02:22:13 PM »
The seeming footdragging by security agents and the National Examination Council to prosecute a school proprietor, who allegedly duped candidates in the ongoing NECO examination to the tune of N9m, has raised a fresh debate on why exam malpractice persists in the country as KEMI OBASOLA reports

The menace of examination malpractices again came to the fore last week in a private school in Ibadan, Oyo State. This time around, it was not just the candidates sitting for the final examinations of the National Examinations Council that were involved, the proprietor of Kasola Private School in Oki, Egbeda Area of the state was also involved.

The proprietor of the school allegedly duped about 360 potential candidates to the tune of N9m.

He collected money from them but he did not register them for the examination. The situation degenerated to the level that the NECO Registrar, Prof. Promise Okpala, had to go to the school to stem the crisis caused by the candidates who were duped.

He closed the school and handed the proprietor over to the police.

In another private school in Idimu Area of Lagos, a female candidate in a private school was forced by her principal to write the Accounts examination for another candidate who registered for the examination but never showed up. The bubble burst when the girl got home late and her guardians asked her where she had been. When she told them, they collected the principal?s phone number and threatened to hand him over to the police. He apologised to them and begged them not to let it go beyond the school level.

The above cases might not sound strange to an average Nigerian; moreso with the widespread cheating that accompanied the May/June West African Senior School Certifcate Examination in which some examinations had to be postponed.

However, observers believe that cheating has now gone beyond examination candidates as they now have willing collaborators in their parents, proprietors, staff of the examination bodies and government itself. This, to them, is worsened by the fact that candidates now leave their schools to register for examinations in other schools where they know they would be able to cheat and perpetuate other forms of examination malpractices.

In an interview, the chairman of a non-governmental organisation, Exam Ethics Project, Mr. Ike Onyechere, said examination malpractice was no longer a matter of indiscretion among students but had metarmophosed into organised crime controlled by syndicates whose members include ethics-unfriendly staff of education ministries, education institutions, agencies and examination boards.

According to him, the recent upsurge in examination malpractice should be placed at the feet of the education ministry and its leadership for not taking a drastic decision to curb the menace.

His view was corroborated by Okpala who said it was unfortunate that nobody had ever been prosecuted for examination malpractices.

Okpala, who spoke in an interview with our correspondent, said the vice was like a web that comprises many willing partners.

He said, ?The official cost of writing NECO examination is N3, 100. Some of those candidates who were not registered by that school proprietor in Ibadan, paid as much as N25, 000 to write the examination. They were aware of the official rate before paying that much. The school proprietor who collected the money from them knew the capacity of candidates he could accommodate but still went ahead to do as he wished. Therefore, the candidates and the proprietor are all culpable.?

Okpala said it was unfortunate that people enjoyed breaking rules and regulations all in a bid to pass an examination. According to him, this was worsened by the fact that nobody was yet to face the wrath of the law for cheating in an examination or defrauding candidates.

He said, ?Candidates cheat every time, some of them even register in certain schools because they want to cheat.

?That school proprietor registered 122 candidates properly. But he knows the rules, so what happened to the 360 candidates that he collected money from and did not register?

?The number of candidates registered by each school is a function of the facilities available in that school as accredited by our officials. This accreditation takes place once in five years. A school with facilities for 100 students should not register more than that. He collected N25, 000 for an examination of N3, 100! Where did he put the money? If that problem did not erupt, we would never have found out.?

Okpala said the police was already investigating the incident adding, ?We do not have the power to prosecute.

A crime has been committed and the police know what to do. It is left to the state to take him to court. We will continue to draw the attention of the public and parents to such situations.?

Okpala said it should be obvious to the candidates that they had missed this year?s NECO examination.

He explained, ?They did not write the examination so they can not get results. We are not the cause, if someone supposedly registered for an examination and did not write it, where will he get the results?

?We will continue to do everything possible to make our candidates write exams in the best environment but if the school decided to create confusion, then nobody should blame us or expect us to provide results from nowhere.?

When contacted, the Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer, Ms. Bisi Okwuobi, said she was not aware of the development. She asked our correspondent to contact the Divisional Police Officer of the Egbeda Police Station who in turn referred our correspondent to the Iyana-Offa police station.

Though efforts to get the DPO of Iyana-Ofa police station failed, a source at the Egbeda Police Station said that the case could be swept under the carpet as nothing was being done to arraign the proprietor in court.

If the matter ended up unresolved, those who believe that non-prosecution of examination fraudsters has been a bane to kicking out malpractices from public examination in the country will be vindicated.

A school proprietor, Mr. Femi Adelaja, said exams like NECO and WASSCE created an opportunity for private school owners to make some extra money, adding, ?but one should not bite more than one can chew.?

He said candidates who came from other schools to register had to pay some extra charges apart from the standard examination fees.

?It is nothing new. The extra money is made from these candidates who want to pass at all cost. What I frown at is a situation where a proprietor collects money from these candidates and does not register them. That is fraudulent and unfair. Anyone who does that deserves the embarrassment that arises because of such behaviour.?

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N9M SCANDAL SPURS FRESH DEBATE ON NON-PROSECUTION OF EXAM CHEATS
« on: September 05, 2008, 02:22:13 PM »

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