Exam malpractice has long plagued Nigeria’s education system, becoming a distressing norm that involves students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and even examiners. The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) recently announced the arrest of 15 individuals, including students, proprietors, and teachers, for their involvement in exam malpractice during the ongoing 2023 May/June Senior Secondary Certificate Examination.
Mr. Patrick Areghan, WAEC’s Head of National Office (HNO) in Nigeria, revealed the arrests while monitoring the May/June examination in government secondary schools in Abuja. He expressed satisfaction with the progress made, stating, “We have made a lot of arrests so far in this exam. Ibadan, Maiduguri, Abeokuta, Osogbo, Umuahia, and many other states have seen arrests.”
These cases are not isolated incidents. In a recent report, WAEC fined 147 private schools in Ebonyi state ₦250,000 each for their alleged involvement in examination malpractices. Earlier this year, 13 secondary schools in Gombe state faced sanctions from WAEC due to exam malpractice, resulting in their de-recognition. The National Examination Council (NECO) also deregistered 12 schools in 2020 for engaging in malpractices during the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE).
Exam malpractice extends beyond WAEC and NECO. In 2020, the Police force headquarters in Abuja paraded 17 teachers accused of participating in malpractices during the August/September West African Examination Council (WAEC) exams nationwide. The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) also implicated 195 candidates in various exam infractions.
Mr. Areghan, WAEC’s head in Nigeria, attributes this troubling trend to the complicity of examination officials. He emphasizes, “Supervisors are our problem; they profit greatly from this.”
Concerned individuals urge the government at all levels to take action and prevent the collapse of the nation’s education system. Hajiya Aisha Baba, a parent, emphasizes the need for effective measures and monitoring during exams, along with appropriate sanctions for offenders. Mr. Kenneth Fashola, a teacher, highlights the impact of poor remuneration on teachers, suggesting that prioritizing their welfare would significantly reduce exam malpractice.
Exam malpractice not only undermines the education system but also perpetuates corruption and mediocrity in society. To unlock Nigeria’s full potential, the education sector requires a thorough overhaul, with a relentless fight against exam malpractice.