• A student of the Lagos State University, Ojo, Toviho Oluwaseyi Ezekiel was alleged to have been involved in examination malpractice in his 100 level and was made to rewrite the course. After he had rewritten the examination, he thought that that chapter had been closed.

    But several years later after completing his course at the university, the institution’s authorities told him he could not graduate and proceed for the national youth service alongside his classmates as a result of the scar of examination malpractice on him.

    Ezekiel was devastated and could believe it. How can anyone do that to him, he asked. Unable to comprehend it, he took his case to the Lagos State House of Assembly where he appealed to the members to intervene and save his future. In a petition to the assembly late 2014, he claimed the authorities of LASU failed to submit his name for NYSC programme even as they had his result released to him. He told the lawmakers he was accused of cheating in an examination in 2010, his year one and was punished by making him re-write the paper after which he moved on to the next class.

    According to him, he eventually went through the programme only to be told that he could not go for his NYSC programme for involvement in exam malpractice.

    The fate of Ezekiel is still hanging because no one is sure how the LASU Council which is yet to sit would decide on his case. A similar case occurred in Lagos State Polytechnic and the school authorities wasted no time in throwing the student out of the school. This is the dilemma of Ezekiel.

    The Lagos House of Assembly had summoned the vice chancellor of LASU, Professor John Obafunwa to brief the members on why the denied the man opportunity to go for youth service.

    He explained that he inherited over 1, 200 cases of examination malpractices when he assumed office with Ezekiel’s being one of them.

    The VC, who was accompanied to the assembly by the deputy vice chancellor, administration and others, said he could not unilaterally take a decision on the matter as it was part of the re-organisation process being carried out in the school.

    The House, in a resolution, appealed to school’s management to allow Ezekiel to graduate and go for his NYSC programme on compassionate grounds.

    The speaker of the House, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji said the assembly could not interfere with the internal affairs of the school as the laws setting up the school emanated from the House in the first instance.

    The deputy speaker of the House, Hon. Taiwo Kolawole said the assembly had handed over the case to the council of the school to decide. According to him, the assmbly had to be very careful because the vice-chancellor told the members he inherited other cases of examination malpractice and Ezekiel’s own could not be treated in isolation.

    The truth is that it is only on rare occasions that students with such a case go scot free. So, as Ezekiel bears his cross, people are asking, will the four years he spent be a waste? What about the money and the time coupled with the effort and pain of the parents?

    It is very difficult to fault the decision of the school authorities considering what is going on in the nation’s school system, particularly the attitude of many students to their studies which has continued to promote examination malpractices and lead to the fallen standard of education in the nation. As painful as it looks, many people are insisting on the need not to reverse the decision to serve as deterrent to others who would not take their education seriously.

    Realising the effect of such malpractice on the society, many schools are now taking the matter as seriously as it should and are clamping down on offenders and metting out deserving punishment on them. Though examination malpractice is neither a recent phenomenon nor is it peculiar to Nigeria or Africa, the alarming rate of the act, particularly in secondary schools across the nation calls for concern by all stakeholders.

    It has been widely reported that parents and teachers aid and abet examination malpractice directly or indirectly. Every hand must be on deck to halt this ugly trend and restore the dignity and standard of Nigerian education for which the nation was known in the past.
    Taiwo Ogunmola Omilani wrote for Leadership Newspaper

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