Review by Okee Sydney-Obiukwu, in Lagos
At the just concluded summit on exam malpractice held in Lagos by the West African examinations Council (WAEC) experts from the West African sub-region who presented papers, were of the view that examination malpractice has festered mainly because of the stimulating factors of advanced technology and the desperation to acquire higher certificates, at all cost.
In his presentation, Professor Jonas Redwood Sawyer from Liberia, who spoke on: Technology and Exam Malpractice, with the sub-title, “Micro-technology and Smart Cheats; argued that technology is the biggest stimulator of examination cheating, in modern times.
He said that devices ranging from wristwatches, contact lens, calculators, cameras to mobile phones; have enable candidates he describes as ‘smart cheats’ to perpetrate the most sophisticated forms of examination malpractice across the globe.
Recommending measures to tackle the scourge, Sawyer said that there was the need to crack-down on would be perpetrators at exam venues, by monitoring the signals within the examination environment, and ensuring that candidates were also scanned, as was the case in China.
Additionally, he suggested that the various governments and academic institutions of the sub-region should strive to instil the culture of integrity and self-confidence in students, through counselling. And that the movements and conducts of invigilators must be effectively monitored during examinations.
Professor Jonathan Fletcher, Dean of Education and Leadership at the University of Ghana, who spoke on, “Examination Malpractice: Threat to National Development, added his voice to the popular view that the desperation to acquire tertiary education certificates was engendering examination malpractice, and listed the factors to include:
“The demand for education is growing and tertiary education is becoming the norm, adults with higher education have better economic outcomes because tertiary graduates are more likely to be employed,” and that “ adults with lower literacy and numeracy levels have more difficulty transitioning to the labour market (OECD, 2017) ”
He also argued that, “65% of adults in the world are expected to enter tertiary education for the first time by 2025,” and that, “adults with tertiary educated parents are twice more likely to reach that level themselves than those without.”
Fletcher counselled that approaches towards combating examination malpractice, should be holistic and should involve all stakeholders.
For instance he opined that teaching methods should be designed to aid deep learning, and that examination rules and regulations should be revised to deal with ‘high tech’ examination malpractice cases.
He said there was the need to ensure good handling of examination question papers and scripts. Also, national/regional/international campaign against examination malpractice should be intensified, he added.
The university don further advocated “ tougher sanctions for persistent offenders – e.g. barring for more than 2 years.
“ Sensitising the police and the judiciary on the sharp rise in cases of examination malpractice; naming and shaming offenders – where appropriate, pictures of offenders should be published in the local dailies,” he stressed.
Education Townhall will begin the publication of selected manuscripts of the papers presented at the two-day international conference, from Wednesday October 25, 2017.