But exam malpractice should not be treated with kid gloves. It is a very dangerous but silent killer which is threatening our whole academic establishments world over.
The following are some of the silent but dangerous things which examination malpractice is always doing to us as students.
Rewards the unworthy
The greatest problem I have with examination malpractice is that it rewards the unworthy. Look at it this way; someone studies so hard throughout the whole semester to commit everything he has been taught into memory so as to pass the exam with flying colors.
Another person who has been whiling away his/her time just takes one night, just in a matter of hours, to make some 'microchips' which s/he will later use for cheating in the examination. This person may also get 'lucky' and get the chance to seat beside and [photo]copy from those who really prepared well for the exam through serious reading.
At the end of the day, they both pass. In some cases, this person who even copied scores even higher after all he was 'quoting' from so many correct sources!
Some will call it being smart but the way I will always see it is that it is the rewarding of the unworthy because if passing examinations is supposed to be that easy, then why attend lectures, do assignments, hold discussion classes, carry out researches, seminars and practical experiments or worse still, why even come to school at all, if we can still pass by doing such an easy thing in such a sleazy manner?
You see, exam malpractice has a way of making mockery of hard work and that is exactly what I will never be comfortable with!
Encourages unseriousness plus laziness
In line with exam malpractice destroying the need for hard work in our academic endeavors, it furthers ingrains into the student's™s psyche the need to always be on the lookout for the easy way out!
The problem therein is that will surely lead to the making of unserious students all over because more and more student will learn to embrace the idea of becoming lazy and they might also come to love it!
But it doesn't stop there because invariably someone who has internalized the act of always looking for the easy way out and getting immediate results without due process and patience will easily become criminally minded because he will surely discover that the easiest way out is usually the illegal way which involves doing criminal deeds.
And that does not speak so well for the future to come.
Does not encourage mental development
Yes. Because exam malpractice is usually working hand in hand with being lazy, it has a way on also encouraging mental laziness which seriously hinders mental development.
This is one of the reasons why I say students should desist from exam malpractice because poor mental development will not encourage us as students to become inventors, great thinkers, great achievers and great leaders. Examination malpractice can easily deny us of making full use of our mental powers!
It will rather encourage us to become ignorant people with 'follow-follow' mentality i.e. people who cannot think for themselves and also people who are always dependent.
And I guess you already have an idea on what will always happen when the blind is leading the blind?
Of course it encourages indiscipline because any student who is bent on cheating is always ready to break the set rules or code of conduct.
He will always seek for and in some cases, might also become an expert in finding the ways to create loop holes in the existing laws such that he will come out successful after s/he must have cheated in the exams.
Oh! What a waste of talent!
As an undisciplined character, he will always like it if there is distraction in the examination such that he will have the opportunity to cheat not minding that such distractions can actually cause problems for others who might have prepared in the right way for the same exam. He might also create that very distraction himself not minding that the whole exam might even be cancelled as a result of that.
He is also ready to lie about the whole thing, if and when, caught either by trying to justifying what s/he did or by trying to cast the blame unto someone else!
No wonder indiscipline is always characterized by selfishness, irresponsibility, arrogance and chronic lying!
Encourages lack of specialization
Exam malpractice has a way of masking out the real specialists in any field where specialization is a prerequisite.
Since it can easily make anyone to 'pass', it becomes imperative that in areas or companies where specialization is highly needed, there must be a second test.
This can become a huge cost and a very daunting task fraught with confusion for any company or individual that is looking for someone to recruit.
Puts everyone in bad light
Similar to the case of exam malpractice being one of the major causes of lack of specialization, there is even a greater problem of it putting everyone else in a very bad light.
It is always easy for us as people to generalize and once there is an established case of examination malpractice in one or two places, it is always easier to assume that everybody cheated.
This is one of the reasons why such malpractices have been hard to root out because it is not always easy to differentiate between those that cheated and those that did not.
No wonder, it is always easier for examination bodies like JAMB or WAEC to just cancel the whole center rather than seek out those who were actually involved to be punished.
Exam malpractice is also responsible for the fact that certificates are no longer valued that much as it becomes a mere paper for title and status sake where it should have been a symbol showing that someone is adequately qualified in that very field.
This could be the reason why so many parents and guardians are no longer all that excited when their children pass in the exams because they might subconsciously believe that their wards [might have] also cheated [but was just only lucky enough not to have been caught!]
I have witnessed a very awkward situation where a very jubilant student was told to pipe down by his own father in the presence of his fellow students because his success is nothing but a clear indication that he was the best cheat in that very exam!
Don't ever blame the parents for thinking in this way because they might be right because the ugly truth is that in some cases, some parents are known to also help their children cheat in those exams either by providing them with the necessary financial means to cheat successfully or by turning a blind eye to such tendencies.
Destroys the prospects of posterity
I once had the opportunity to invigilate a mathematics examination and I was shocked with what I saw.
The candidates were really having a hard time trying to solve the questions. Most of them kept on complaining that the questions were so difficult while some others even suggested that I should try and help them to pass, by hook or crook!
Their helplessness and desperation was so vivid. This prompted me to take a look at the question to see for myself if the examiners were really as wicked as some of the students have already confirmed.
I was really flabbergasted with what I saw. It was a big shock when I discovered that I knew the answers to at least 60% of the questions they were asked some seven years ago! Now you tell me, is 60% not a pass mark?
If I could solve 60% of the questions seven years back without cheating or needing any form of external help, why are these students complaining that they couldn't do so now? My biggest question was whether we are now going back or going forward? Is this progress or stagnancy or even retrogression which was the most likely answer?
And when I thought about what these students are going to teach their own students who unfortunately happens, to be my own children, my fears worsened and I felt a very great concern for posterity to come.
All thanks to examination malpractice!
Wastes time and money
If you are an ergonomics engineer like myself, you will agree with me that the act or practice of wasting resources is always consider a serious crime of its own.
And the worst resources you can ever waste in this world is your time and money which is why I frown at exam malpractice because that is exactly what it wastes most.
It can waste time because instead of a student concentrating on just how to pass with flying colors through hard work and honest labor, you find a student plotting on ways to cheat the invigilators, effective ways to distract and disturb others, how to seat in a very comfortable location that will guarantee success, how and where to buy the answers if the examination questions leaked, how to effectively mask answers as body tattoos and also how to copy the answers on papers and make those papers become even smaller than microchips.
Some other students have also taken such practices even to greater scientific heights through the use of their mobile phones and the internet!
The female students might even take it further in trying to see how to comfortably hide such 'microchips' in their bras and other 'hidden' places where they cannot be easily found, reached or touched!
You see what I am trying to say?
Of course, examination malpractice requires a lot of work and it takes a very smart, clever or resourceful person to cheat successfully but then no matter how you look at it, at the end of the day, it is still negative work!
It is negative work because all it will take for this person who has prepared so well to cheat to fail in the exam could be as simple as denying him/her the use of their mobile phones, changing the seating arrangement or exam venues and also changing the format of the examination and you will find a desperate and drowning student, completely destabilized and clutching on thin air just to survive even though there is no river around!
Furthermore, if such exams are cancelled, students might be asked to come to do the exam another time and in some cases, they might also have to make a second payment for them to seat for those papers once more which is a complete waste of time and money and in some cases, lives have also been lost in situations where the students might need to travel to their exam centers and they get involved in road accidents!
Similarly, the price that some students will have to pay to those who will sit in for those exams as mercenaries, to those who will help them sneak out the question papers in and outside the examination hall, to those who will help them sneak out their answer scripts for them to rewrite the whole thing again, to those who will invigilate them by looking the other way etc. can only be better imagined than experienced!
Exam malpractice can cause us as students to choose mediocrity because inasmuch as such students want to pass, they will not like to excel to the extent that will start drawing attention to them. They would never like to be called upon to defend their grades or marks so they comfortably hide and pass off as being amongst average students!
But Mediocrity should never be the characteristic of any student or anybody who really wants to score high!
This is because mediocrity will never allow your own voice to be heard. It will not allow your sun to shine as it will always keep you suppressed because your whole individuality will be completely lost in the sea of teeming mediocre lies.
Mediocrity might be attractive because many people love identifying with the majority which is said carries the votes, and since mediocrity helps us to hide in the crowd, it can make us feel powerful as well as unidentifiable but then come to think of it, Â that is exactly the same problem it creates.
End up having a fake certificate
In a certificate minded society like the Nigerian society, exam malpractice will always be a very difficult case to curtail or handle. This is simply because as more and more continue to buy into that idea that certificate is everything, you will agree with me that there will always be an increasing case of fraudulent certificates or forgeries.
And you will agree with me that for someone who has come to like to idea of cheating his or her way out, forging certificates is no big deal. It is just one of those things. It's just another feather in his cap!
Another unseen problem there is that if our people continue to scramble for certificates in the manner we are going about it, the laws of demand and supply will finally set in thus rendering most of our certificates worthless!
This is already happening.
End up being rusticated
One of the reasons for rusticating students from any institution of learning is when any case of exam malpractice is established against the student.
Funny enough, many students don't even know the risk they are running by engaging in such acts either because so many are involved or simply because think or know there will always be someone, like a godfather or something like that, who will definitely come out to defend them.
Besides being rusticated from school, it will still be a noteworthy point if I still remind us as students that examination malpractices is still a very punishable criminal offense which can land us in jail.
Why not? Examination malpractice is corruption on its own but then it establishes general corruption as it is always punching holes in our credibility and creating doubts in our capabilities.
The saying that a pot does not call a kettle black can only be used in clear cases of established malpractice because if we both knew that we cheated, the best thing to do is to keep quiet and continue to carry-on and act as if nothing really happened after all we already know that those who live in glasshouses should never throw stones.
And that my friend is the purest definition of corruption.
I know that some students including some bright students, even after reading this, will still want to believe that they need to cheat in their examinations to pass.
Their reasons could not be further from:
1. The fact that it is the only way they know and it has been working for them in the past.
2. Others are [also] doing it.
3. It will only be for the last time. I won't [want to] do it again!
4. I just want to pass this exam.
5. There is no time to study properly for this particular paper.
6. This subject is so vast as well as difficult. I can't read and understand the whole thing by myself.
7. Failure is not my portion. All I have to do is just to "shine" my eyes and do whatever it takes.
8. This lecturer is wicked. He normally sets questions on what he did not teach.
9. I just want to cross the pass mark.
10.Well, in a way, cheating in the exam can be fun, if you are not caught etc...
Whatever your reasoning are, most especially if you are amongst those who think they have to cheat because the papers are so difficult and the only way out is by cheating, I will still like to leave you with this encouraging thought on a saying I heard from somewhere just to remind you that the ability of you passing or failing an exam is just a matter of your perception: Lord, if you make it difficult [to pass]; please don’t make it impossible!