The last UTME was said to have been an improvement over past ones even though cases of examination malpractice which have become a hallmark of the exercise were recorded across the country. Kuni Tyessi in this analysis takes a look at how the ingenuity of the brains behind exam malpractice can be redirected for the nation’s development.
The last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) which held in some countries including Nigeria penultimate Saturday was in many ways not different from the past exercises which witnessed cases of malpractice. It showed that much as the authorities have tried to deal with it, the issue of malpractice has remained a feature of the exercise. Some of the cases of this malpractice are clear indications of the brain power and ingenuity of those behind them.
It needs to be pointed out that from the outcome of the exercise, however, that the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) achieved some success as it was able to curtail malpractice to the barest minimum. That is also not to close one’s eyes to the reported ugly cases in some centres where the examination malpractice merchants and their followers held sway.
Over the years, governments and the authorities have continued to express worry over this development which has defied several measures put in place to check it. Stakeholders have made several suggestions on how to tackle this fraud to no avail. The reason it has continued to thrive is not far fetched. The too much importance attached to paper qualification in the country is such that is fueling the desire of most Nigerians to obtain certificates at any cost.
This desire has thrown up examination merchants across the country whose stock in trade is devising ways and means of perpetuating examination malpractice. On their part too, many candidates have become so desperate that they are willing to do virtually anything to pass the examinations which they require to gain visibility in the society. It does not matter if they are unable to defend the certificates. Seek and get the papers first and every other thing will follow, they seem to be saying.
Some of the methods they have devised to beat examiners and invigilators are just ingenius to say the least. There is the ‘miracle slippers’ which habours everything from telephone handsets to other materials which come in handy for their owners in the course of the examination. The truth is that the people behind some of these fraudulent acts exhibit such ingenuity that can be harnessed and positively redirected.
Is there no way of fishing out some of the youth behind these fraudulent acts and tapping their ingenuity for national development? The point has to be made that everyone must not go to the university before they can become important or contribute their own quota to the advancement of the country. This point needs to be underscored especially as we are thinking of becoming one of the 20 largest economies in the world by the year 2020 which is just a few years away.
Since these individuals already have basic education which is the least that government is advocating for its citizens and they can also communicate in the official language, they can become useful to the country. This will help to some extent in minimising youth restiveness which has continued to plague our society. We should be guided by the example of China that ensures that every family has what it produces for the running of the economy? Not all Chinese go to school because they also have their challenges, but they make sure that nothing is left to chance.
Nigerians are known to be some of the smartest people in the world. Unfortunately, some of our compatriots apply their ingenuity negatively and that is what is attracting all the negative image and bad reputation to our dear country. The energy of some of the youth can really be redirected to the country’s advantage. All it requires is for the relevant authortities to buy the idea and run with it and the result will be enormous.
The registrar of JAMB, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde has just said ‘information reaching us in JAMB shows that some internet fraudsters are already telling candidates that their results could be upgraded in one form or the other. This is pure deceit. The public and candidates are hereby advised to disregard these fraudsters since they do not have access to our data. Only the lazy and gullible will fall victim”. Well, this is hoping that the Prof knows what he is actually saying because these guys are known to have penetrated the system in the past and indeed effected changes in the scores of candidates. (Leadership)