Varsity don blames strikes, poor teachers’ salaries for rising wave of exam malpractice

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Varsity don blames strikes, poor teachers’ salaries for rising wave of exam malpractice

A varsity don, Prof. Grace Offoma, has blamed the increasing rate of examination malpractice on incessant strikes and poor remuneration of teachers.

Prof. Offoma, former Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, made the observation in Nsukka on Wednesday in reaction to the high number of candidates whose results were withheld after the May/June 2022 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

The West African Examination Council (WAEC) released the results of the June examination on August 8 but withheld the results of 22.83 per cent of the candidates because of examination malpractice.

In contrast, WAEC withheld the results of 10.9 per cent of candidates who wrote the WASSCE in 2021.

Prof. Offoma argued that the lack of proper teaching and poor attention to students resulted from the poor remuneration of teachers which has led to an increasing level of examination malpractice.

“Many teachers no longer dedicate time to prepare and teach students because they have other businesses outside the class to augment their poor monthly salary.

“They only come into the class to dish out information to students and give them notes to copy without caring whether or not the students understand the topic.

“If they are well paid, there will be no need to engage in other businesses outside the classroom that continue to distract teachers’ attention,” she said.

The varsity don also identified incessant strikes, especially in tertiary institutions as another factor leading to increasing examination malpractice in the country.

“Strikes in the education sector make it impossible for teachers to complete their syllabuses for the term or semester and carry out revisions before examinations.

“If the government desires to reduce examination malpractice to the barest minimum, teachers in primary, secondary and in institutions of higher learning should be well paid.

“Federal, state and local governments should do everything within their capacities to avoid any form of strike by teachers and lecturers,’’ she stressed.

Prof. Offoma also noted that parents who gave children or wards money to give to examiners and invigilators were accessories to the crime of examination malpractice.

“It is unfortunate that some parents give their children money or even go personally to give money to examiners to influence them during an examination.

“My advice to such parents is to use that money to buy their children relevant textbooks and get them private teachers to coach them at home.

“All hands must be on deck to stop this cankerworm because examination malpractice is responsible for many people presenting certificates that they cannot defend,’’ Offoma said.