‘Emphasis on certification encouraging exams malpractices’
A former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof Joy Ogwu, has expressed worry over the moral decadence in Nigeria’s educational system.
Speaking recently at 8th national annual dinner and party of the Government College Ughelli Old Boys Association (GCUOBA), in Abuja, Ogwu also alleged that emphasis most Nigerians place on paper certificates is encouraging examination malpractices in the country.
As a result of the importance of paper qualification, the country now has fictitious examination centres that are established by corrupt examination officials where candidates complete their examinations with support of helpers and without supervision.
She said: “Parental pressure and expectations from the children, parents had sworn false affidavits concerning the age of their children so that they can boost that their children graduated from the university at the age of 14. You are producing an immature citizen who understands how to pass exams, but is not matured enough to participate in the system.”
Ogwu said most schools in the country lack adequate infrastructure for proper learning to take place, adding that ill-equipped students, wrong admission policies, lack of proper supervision, teachers and the school status are prominent factors forcing students to resort to examination malpractice to pass.
Ogwu added: “So many variances of malpractices in our system today are leakage of examination papers, impersonation, external assistance, smuggling of materials copying, collusion, intimidation, improper assignment, ghost centres, alteration of awards and certificate.
“This means there is symbiotic between the students and the teacher and the supervising agencies, there is one they call ‘scientific malpractice’ which is the use of cell phones to cheat. Parents are now paying thousands of dollars to get their children enrolled in high schools. All these are strange and alien to our country before now.”
She recalled that the characteristic of the African indigenous education was community-oriented, where the learners were instructed about the social life to prepare them to fit into their roles in the community.
She added: “The process of learning by practical example was seen as very important and it was very functional. For example, for a girl, it was learning how to sew, farming is to farm, and cooking is to cook, while teaching is to teach; it was not separated from other community activities, which in itself was totally holistic before the coming of colonial education.”
According to her, to a large extent, the coming of colonial education undermined Nigeria’s indigenous system of education.
She argued: “The emphasis now is on progressive education, which implies that the learner’s education should be based on their needs and interest to enable a better adjustment to the society but the system wasn’t so successful.”
Noting that the new education policy failed to provide proper commensurate values and discipline for development, she said it also failed to produce finished products with a combination of skills, credibility and value system that will make them self-reliant, and entrepreneurs with good moral values.
Ogwu called for a collective effort from every citizen to swing around and make the necessary change.
“We can revive and preserve the integrity of the public discourse on the prevalent decadence of the education system in our society. We must do all we can to preserve the soul of our society. We cannot afford to do less; the soul of our society is the soul of our existence as a people and as a community.
“The system is hungry for people with a sense of morality. We will not have proper education until the authority of the teacher is restored. We will not have proper education until the authority of the principal is restored.
We will not have proper education until the authority of the supervising agencies is restored. We will not have proper education unless parents support teachers.”
Earlier in his welcome address, GCUOBA, President General, Charles Majoroh, stressed the need to change the paradigm of public education in public schools by planning for ‘smart campus’ places of learning.
He noted that Nigerian products were increasingly competing with students raised in an ICT environment and on a template of modern technologies.
Majoroh further stressed the need for the country to start phasing out the old methods of teaching and pushing forward with ideas for schools that are contemporaneous with the global standard of learning.
He disclosed that the group’s smart campus’ idea would see it deploy ICT facilities over the next few years and integrate the western world to enable students to acquire knowledge and benchmark with their peers from the best schools across the world.