By Rev. Williams
Examination malpractice needs to be condemned by all Sierra Leoneans with one voice. It is sin against the nation. It is an evil which is steadily destroying the expected credibility of examination results in this nation (from primary to university).
In religious circles, especially Muslims and Christians, it is known that sin originated from Satan and is continually fuelled by the devil himself. Yet God has given us the will power to resist sin or fall under its sway. So we can avoid examination malpractice.
But what is sin? According to the word of God, “Sin is transgression of the law”. It does not distinguish between God’s laws and Commandments and laws made by earthly governments. This means that whenever one violates an established law, he has sinned. I want to add that any act or behaviour that is not good is sin, as long as it affects our fellowmen or our God – given laws.
Let me hasten to point out that examination malpractice, fraudulent conversion of national funds, impersonation, false witness, false pretences, stealing, to name a few, all fall under a big evil umbrella known as DISHONESTY.
WHY do people involve in Examination Malpractices?
First: It is the easy way out for them. Note that everyone involved knows that malpractice is not only wrong but against the law and is punishable. This is why they try as much as possible to operate in secret.
Secondly: They feel that they don’t need to study or study hard because they will either get the questions before time or spy from already answered questions in the examination halls by those who had access to the questions before time.
Thirdly: They believe that all that matters is to get the certificate and nothing else. They are ignorant of the fact that the certificate is only a paper to prove that one has gone through the prescribed course. They fail to realise that what really matters is what one has academically digested and assimilated, empowering one for effective performance on the job.
Fourthly: They operate under this false sense of security until they are caught and the authorities literally pounce on them.
Fifthly: They believe that so long as educated and responsible people are involved, they can safely follow the trail.
The Evil seed of Malpractice:
All those involved in malpractice should know that they are planting evil seeds in their lives. And we know that an evil seed gives rise to an evil tree.
An evil seed takes time to develop into a tree. It is then the evil tree bears fruits of disgraceful exposure, shame, failure, unachievement and regret.
Examination malpractice can develop into office malpractice. Furthermore it serves as a wrong example to the brothers and sisters behind who are very good imitators.
The Risk Involved:
It is a great risk to be involved in examination malpractice. Those involved can lose the opportunity to take the examination and be rightly labelled criminals. They risk the possibility of legal action leading to imprisonments.
“Operation Show Your Certificates”
Malpractice can take place even in the process of admitting students into university. This may surprise some people but it can happen.
Following a tip-off, one African University instituted an investigation which was known as “OPERATION SHOW YOUR CERTIFICATE.”
All students were asked to produce their certificate for verification the next day. That evening there was a lot of student movement within the University Campus.
It was later discovered that many of the students, especially in the third and final years, had left the campus in the night. This was how students who had spent three or four years left the University – wasted years! One should not be supervised if this happens in Sierra Leon owing to alleged University entrance malpractices.
I do not need to comment on malpractices within the three levels of education which I have done before but I want to state that WASSCE examination malpractices are a reflection of what operates in the Primary and Secondary School.
I wish to commend the WASSCE examination authorities for their diligence and vigilance which led to the resent discovery of examination malpractice. However, I hope that the action taken against the culprits will serve as a deterrent to others coming after.
According to information received pupils behave in a hostile manner towards invigilators who are only doing their assigned duty according to the rules. This attitude may not be unconnected with ‘click’ members who are also students, because their click society is a lawless and blood – shedding one, they instigate others to rise against authorities.
Therefore I suggest that adequate security is given to invigilators and WAEC personnel during and after examinations.
Our concept of adolescent behaviours should be changed because adolescents are now behaving like adult criminals. The psychology books should also be reviewed because the present breed of adolescents is not the same as those we read about in our psychology books.
Finally I want to suggest that examination malpractice and its evil effects on the individual and the nation should be included in the social studies syllabus in both primary and secondary schools and also in churches and mosques.
This will be a long-term solution to malpractices.