The Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mike Omeri, said on Friday that exam malpractice has further helped to malign Nigeria’s image in the world and has become a serious organised crime with a street value of N25b per annum.
Mr. Omeri said that 12 per cent of candidates who sat for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) this year were involved in examination malpractice.
Mr. Omeri said this in Abuja at a collaborative project between the agency and the Exam Ethics Marshals International on the restoration of integrity in the conduct of exams in the country.
According to him, examination malpractice has become a serious organised crime, as evident in some private schools that pride themselves as “virtual magic centre”.
“Sale of marks, grades and degrees in tertiary institutions and outright theft and forgery of certificates, extortion of money from candidates by school administration has become the norm,” he said.
Mr. Omeri said that exam malpractice has become so lucrative in the country that it boasts of a street value of N375 billion in the past 15 years.
The NOA boss said the statistics is nothing to be proud off, adding that it rather calls for “retrospection” toward the cause of the unfortunate realities with a view to finding a solution.
He said that the root cause of examination malpractice is the gradual and constant erosion of the country’s values as a people.
The DG said Nigerians have elevated mundane pursuits, mediocrity, and paper qualifications above other considerations.
“We have forced integrity, merit and hard work to resign to the back seat of affairs in the society, and the philosophy of the ends justify the means has taken the centre stage of people’s thinking,” Mr. Omeri said.
He said that Nigerians have sacrificed what is right on the altar of selfish ambition, hence the decay of the fabric of “our educational system which has resulted to low quality of labour turnover”.
“Endemic corruption, huge annual economic loss in excess of N315 billion, increase in criminal activities, inefficient human capital for national development and a poor international image are the prices we have had to pay as a country,” the DG said.
He, however, said that the agency has brought the message of hope which would tackle the challenges of examination malpractice in the country
Mr. Omeri called on stakeholders to join hands together with NOA for what he described as “total attitudinal transformation of the educational sector”.