EXAMINATION malpractice has been a major challenge in Nigeria’s education sector for more than five decades.
Because of the undue emphasis on paper qualification above competence especially in our public institutions, students, and in recent years actively supported by their parents and guardians, resort to doing everything they can to acquire them.
In some cases, parents hire mercenary candidates to impersonate their children and wards at external exam centres.
This is one of the reasons we are turning out a lot of young people with seemingly impressive academic certificates but who are so poorly educated that they are unemployable.
The West African Examinations Council, WAEC, perhaps to give credence to the old saying that the long arm of the law will eventually catch offenders no matter how long it takes, on Monday last week published the names, exam years and certificate numbers of candidates who reportedly acquired their certificates through impersonation in the 1992 and 1993 exam years.
The Council announced in the bulletin of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, that it was “withdrawing” these certificates.
It disclosed that it is already partnering with the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, to enforce the National Identification Number, NIN, on candidates from the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, onward.
Ordinarily, WAEC deserves commendation for its determination to ensure that the culprits did not get away with their crimes. However, the 26 to 27-year delay has drastically watered down the sense of justice.
WAEC owes the public an explanation as to why it took them this long to act. It is a rush to shut the stable long after the horse had escaped.
Many of these impersonators have used these fake certificates as stepping stones to higher things in life. Some used them to gain admissions in schools abroad and are probably holding lucrative jobs.
Some have become highly-ranked political leaders while others after their education, have become business owners. How will this delayed action by WAEC bring them to pay for their crimes?
Only a few individuals, perhaps those employed in the public service might be affected if efforts are made to trace them.
We look forward to WAEC publishing more names of culprits who committed exam malpractice over the years to show they are not merely engaging in a one-off publicity stunt.
The only useful part of this matter is that WAEC has shown its resolve to come after these offenders who might have thought they had successfully cheated the system.
The almost 30-year delay shows how slow, irresponsible and unresponsive our governmental institutions can be.
The collaboration with the NIMC for the enforcement of the NIN on candidates is a welcome idea, but we hope WAEC will not be frustrated by an equally-slow and inefficient NIMC.Read Full Story