This act has been seen as a violation to Nigeria’s legal obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the right of its citizens to quality education.
It was reported earlier that some online platforms obtain questions before the start of exams, solve it and sell the answers online to senior secondary school students sitting for WAEC. Reports reveals that one of the websites sell answers to Theory and Objective questions for N400, while another sell same for N800. After payment, candidates, who subscribe to the result peddling websites get the answers to the questions they request delivered to their phones. Apart from peddlers of result on websites, candidates taking such exams have found ways to engage in malpractices. In 2017, WAEC had organised a summit with international experts in attendance, and this exposed the tricks and ways of tracking those, who engage in exam malpractice.
One of the experts, Prof Jonas Redwood Sawyer, who spoke on ‘technology and examination malpractice,’ said that students globally have devised series of examination malpractice through the use of technology. In his lecture, he had said that smart watch, smart ring, spy earpiece bluetooth, scientific calculator, live chat, spy glasses, invisible watch, spy camera and smart earpiece/microphone are now being used. Prof Sawyer buttressed his point by saying that combating exam malpractices should be a national and regional concern and treated as emergency, giving its wider international implications.
The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), as an exam body is not resting on its oars on the issue. Since Prof. Ishaq Oloyede became the registrar of the body, he has ensured the review of the procedure for the examination amongst other things. All these efforts made by the bodies seem not to be yielding a satisfactory result. JAMB during this year’s examination banned wristwatches, pens, unscreened eyeglasses, among other items so as to curtail examination malpractices. Similarly, WAEC alleged that some school principals, invigilators and supervisors, working alongside notorious syndicates, now collaborate with candidates to cheat in its examinations, especially the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
WAEC spoke against the backdrop of parade by the Lagos State Police Command of four suspects, who had pleaded guilty to the allegation of engaging in the retailing trade of live questions of examinations conducted by the Council. In a statement made available by the Head of Public Affairs Unit, Mr. Demianus Ojijeogu, WAEC confirmed that through its monitoring activities, unholy alliances among school administrators, invigilators, supervisors and the candidates have resulted in cheating in its examinations. He said investigations have revealed that the culprits take mobile phones into the examinations’ hall and take photographs of questions as soon as they are distributed to the candidates and forward them to the syndicate outside the hall.
“Our monitoring and investigations of the ongoing examination have established the fact that certain school principals, invigilators, supervisors and candidates, who had succeeded in smuggling mobile phones and other electronic devices into the examination hall, snap the question papers after the examination must have commenced and forward them to their criminal collaborators who in turn provide solutions to the questions and send them to their subscribers via rogue websites, SMS, WhatsApp and other social media,” the examination body said. It, however, denounced the claim that its examination papers leak before the scheduled examinations.
“The question papers for the on-going WASSCE for school candidates 2018 did not leak as it has been erroneously portrayed in the media. Leakage can be said to have occurred when the question papers get into the hands of individuals who are not supposed to have them before the time scheduled on the timetable. Without any iota of doubt, the Council wishes to state that no case of leakage has been established since the beginning of the examination,” it said. Moreso, apart from the malpractices, many Nigerians youths have been duped by fraudsters. A pastor identified as Adeniyi Joshua was apprehended by officers of the Lagos State Police Command on suspicions of operating a fake WAEC examination centre in Igbogbo,Ikorodu.
The Commissioner of Police, CP Edgal Imohimi, revealed that the suspects were arrested on April 25, following a complaint by a senior member of the staff of WAEC office, Ogba. According to the reports, upon enrollment, the suspect would have the unsuspecting students sit for fake examination in which photocopies of fake WAEC questions papers and answer sheets are used. Police added that he would then dispose of the scripts after the exam. The suspect will be charged to court following the completion of the investigation.
As part of solutions to address the challenge, the examination body has suggested that mobile phones’ network should be jammed within specific radius covering the examination centres or outright shutting down of internet nationwide as done in some countries. WAEC noted that it lacks the power to carry out such actions, calling on relevant stakeholders including mobile network service providers, regulatory agencies and the government to collaborate to address the challenge.In the interim, WAEC claims it is working hard to ensure that no candidate, invigilator or supervisor is allowed to go into the examination halls with banned items, including mobile phones. The Council warned that it has the capability and capacity to detect and punish candidates, who must have benefited from the fraudulent activities of the operators of rogue websites and WhatsApp platforms.
Furthermore, the Council called for collaboration with well-meaning Nigerians, Civil Society Groups, Corporate Organisations that are ICT inclined, Telecom Companies, States Ministries of Education, Deposit Money Banks, relevant Security Agencies, the Media and other stakeholders to neutralize the threat being posed by examination malpractice to education in Nigeria. There is no gainsaying of the fact that the Federal Government of Nigeria, States and local governments must join hands with examination bodies to nip in the bud the menace of exam malpractice in Nigeria.