Not flattering – The Nation

  • That some states lead, as JAMB cheats, is shameful.  But it is good the trend is declining

One remarkable statement that normally accompanies the issuance of degree certificates from universities is that the recipients have been found ‘worthy in character and learning’. What this implies is that excelling in academics alone does is not the only qualifying criterion for a tertiary certificate. So the character of a student must be adjudged satisfactory too.

This is the reason universities have disciplinary measures like suspension, expulsion and rustication for students, whose behavior is considered inconsistent with honesty and integrity.

It is, therefore, disappointing to realize that prospective candidates for Nigerian universities seek to be admitted into schools through very dishonest means . While no human system is perfect, we believe that the spate of fraud in our educational system over the years must begin to worry all stakeholders. The chain effect of an unchecked flawed admission system is better imagined, both for the country and even the global community.

That is why it is disturbing that about 149 arrests were made around the country, during the ongoing but now suspended UTME examination, with Imo and Anambra states topping the list. The crimes ranged from proxy candidates, attempts to cheat, forceful entrance and tampering with examination documents, to smuggling of mobile phones into the examination halls, beside other offences.

We commend the management of the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) for the efforts they have made so far to stem the tide. Such efforts have yielded fruits with previous arrests in addition to the recent one. The idea of using functional CCTV and other security gadgets shows that bringing sanity to such examinations is not an impossible task. The prompt release of results is equally very commendable.

While we commend JAMB, we believe that parents have a great role to play in the values that children grow up with. The biblical injunction that says “train a child in the ways he/she should go and when they grow, they would not depart from them” seems to have little meaning to most people. In a society that adults are unabashedly being derelict in their duties and committing crimes with impunity, because children tend to act what they see rather than what they hear, we must not deny that adults have probably led the way.

Even in some cases, some children see their parents try to influence their common entrance admissions with impunity. Under such circumstances, the children would believe that progressing to university must be done the same way. Cases of proxy candidates are often sponsored and arranged by parents who pay for such criminality given that at such ages, candidates are still financially dependent.

We hope that the arrested candidates and their accomplices would be prosecuted and if found guilty punished in accordance with existing laws as a deterrent to others. We equally believe that it is not enough to applaud the arrests, more efforts must be made by everyone in the society including parents, guardians, teachers and other care givers to instil in children the right values first with their own behaviour and by punishing truancy when noticed.

The government at all levels should take more interest in all the different stages of education and ensure that strict adherence to quality and due process forms the bedrock of the education system.  While education is the tool for development, the children must be trained aright for any impactful education to take root in their lives.

The impact of fraud on the educational system is like a permanent cancer on the society and is disastrous for the nation and the larger world. There must be deliberate and comprehensive re-orientation processes to detoxify the mindset of children and let them grow into responsible adults who earn their certificates and other things the right way.

A fraudulent student would grow to be a fraudulent accountant, doctor, lawyer, biochemist etc., which invariably means that everyone becomes a casualty eventually because nothing good comes from a flawed growth process.

We hope other institutions and agencies can be as thorough as JAMB. The system is not irredeemable they seem to say.

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