By Elizabeth Uwandu
Contrary to reports in the media that last week Saturday’s Federal Government common entrance examination to Unity Schools was peaceful, some parents have raised alarm over the high rate of examination malpractice in many centres. This is just as the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu also revealed that out of 75,635 candidates that sat for the examination, only 25,000 spaces were available.
The implication is that 50,635 candidates automatically will not be admitted into the 104 Unity Schools across the country.
It was therefore the survival of the fittest for some parents, including some schools owners that allegedly sought for ways through engaging in malpractices to buying NECO questions and answers for their children.
Our children future look blink
Nigerians who saw first-hand the desperation by some parents and school owners to make their wards pass the NCEE examination took to Concerned Parents and Education Network to decry the wroth in the education sector, especially at the basic level.
For Victoria Anichukwu, who aired her disgust on the CPEN platform run by Mrs Yinka Ogunde said: ‘’I was so shock to see parents trying to buy answers for their kids at NCEE yesterday. “
Corroborating Anichukwu’s claim, Mr Emeka Agada added that, “ My son wrote the test. He said the invigilators were giving ‘expo’ to some candidates in the hall. The corruption in civil service is just something else.”
Mrs Mariam Suliamon narrated her experience at the venue of her son’s examination centre. She said: ‘’ I tell you, I went with my son for the exam yesterday and I was asked if I want ‘expo’ for my son of ten years. The question is that if he did not pass that exam, are there no other schools for me to choose from? ‘’Does the exam determine life success or what? So many questions I asked my self yesterday and I called my son that you must not take and don’t give anybody anything. And if you see people doing it, don’t do it with them. He came back and told me he saw a teacher giving a boy ‘expo’. It the parents fault.’’
‘’My daughter was called a gossip for reporting some children caught cheating . Sahdat Tijani revealed thus, “ In my daughter’s centre, she saw some students exchanging papers and she reported to the invigilator, only for the official to shout on her “what’s your business’’? Is that what you came here to do?She felt bad and told me after her exams.’’
While some parents and other stakeholders reiterated that there was no justification for malpractice, many lamented that the engagement of malpractice has continued to undermine education standard by the rise of half baked graduates.
Mr Charles Osinlu said, “ The damage parents and private schools are doing to education is alarming, adding, ‘’that informs reason many of our graduates can not construct simple sentence. How will they? When all the certificates acquired were bought for them. Let’s stop this stupid act. Come to think of it. When parents are buying answer at primary level, I wonder what they will do in WAEC, talkless of university.’’
For Martins Akpan, “ We have loads of graduates at my organisation that cannot handle excel or simple mechanical procedure . We have to retrain them as an expatriate firm they leave after a year because of bad foundations.
Abimbola Onabanjo reiterated by saying, “ Malpractice is the reason we have half naked graduates, Masters degree holders who cannot defend their certificates. “
On her part, Mrs Anike Adejoke, an educationist and a traveler stated: ‘’Parents buying exam answers are killing the children’s innate ability to make concrete life-decisions. “
While, Isioma Fidel-Enwerem observed that parents were mortgaging the future of their children which at the end will boomerangs; Mrs Doris Okoh noted that “ parents trying to destroy education at all levels would later come back to cry foul.”
Curbing exam malpractice
While jail term was suggested as punishment for cheating in examination, the enthronement of capabilities and competent over certification have also been called for.
Mr Oluboda Barnabas said: ‘’Federal and states government should make stringent laws to fight against what he calls corruption. Federal and state governments should be sincere in the way they fight corruption. They should move from plead bargaining to jailing corrupt people without any option of fine. Cheating, selling and buying of expo questions or answers should be categorized under corrupt activities. We need to check corruption before it destroys everything that is standard in Nigeria.’’
For Goodness Kosi, an easier way is to address malpractice in the education sector would be to change our value system. His words,”Over the years, we have cherished certificates than Skills. That is why most recruiters wants to know more about your certs than your skills. Therefore, it is obvious everyone would like to take a shortcut: “after all, examinations are far different from what happens in the work-field they would say. For me, a changed focus on Value is actually the solution to our problem.
75,635 candidates scrabble for 25,000 spaces, as results to be out May 1
Meanwhile, the 75,635 candidates that sat for the National Common Entrance Examination, will have to rely on the 60 percent for merit; 40 percent for quota and others to be able to gain admission into the 25,000 spaces available in the Unity schools across the country.
However, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu while stating that this year’s NCEE examination enrollment was low compared to last year enrollment which stood at 81,451. has revealed that the results will be out by May 1.