Unless the war against corruption starts and succeeds in the education sector, Nigeria will continue to be doomed to pervasive and perpetual corruption if schools continue to indoctrinate fertile minds of youths with the ideology of corruption
The 2015 General Elections confirmed that eradication of corruption is number one concern of every Nigerian. Examination malpractices, academic dishonesty and corruption in education are root causes of corruption in wider society and unless they are eradicated, corruption in the wider society cannot be eradicated in the long term. With the scope and scale of corruption in the education system, too many schools have become breeding grounds for potential fraudsters, where leaders of tomorrow are weaned on diets of fraud, malpractice and dishonesty, and where the processes of admissions, training, examination, certification, registration and regulation are hopelessly compromised and criminalized. This is why we strongly suggest that the anticorruption war of the Buhari administration should start in the education sector.
It is important to send an immediate and unmistakable signal of zero tolerance for corruption in the education sector. Exam Ethics recommends an 8-point programme of action for sending such a signal which include: re-launching the exam malpractice blacklist initiative to name and shame invigilators, supervisors and schools involved in aiding and abetting malpractices; directing all tertiary institutions regulatory agencies (NUC, NCCE,NBTC) to take action on recent government white papers on state tertiary institutions; re-visiting the Need Assessment Report on Federal Public Universities with a view to identify and sanctioning those involved in criminalizing the tertiary education process; setting up task teams to carry out re-accreditation of all courses in all public and private universities in the country in view of damning report on the accreditation process by the Need Assessment committee; re-validating the educational qualifications of all workers in Federal Ministry of Education, Agencies and Institutions as nobody can give what he does not have; compelling certified professional associations to institute stronger self-regulatory mechanisms; directing WAEC, NECO and other public Exam Boards to make public names of candidates barred from taking their exams, and providing leadership and institutional support for Exam Ethics that has sustained the campaign against corruption in education since 1996. There is universal agreement on cost and consequences of corruption in terms of undermining social, economic and political development efforts of Nigeria.
Nigerians are also in agreement regarding the fact that corruption in education is the mother and source code of pervasive corruption in the wider society. The consequences of corruption in education are particularly fundamental, pre-eminent and most devastating for society. This is because it is the role of education to produce leaders, professionals, workers and citizens with the character to shun corruption and the competences to transform national potentials into developmental realities. Education is not playing this role when institutions are virtual breeding grounds for corruption, where leaders of tomorrow are weaned on diets of fraud and where the processes of admissions, training, examination, certification, registration and regulation are criminalized. Unless the war against corruption starts and succeeds in the education sector, Nigeria will continue to be doomed to pervasive and perpetual corruption if schools continue to indoctrinate fertile minds of youths with the ideology of corruption. By the time ICPC, EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies step in, it is already too late. This is why we make the case for the war against corruption by incoming Government to start with the education sector.
There is clear, present and urgent need to rebuild the moral and ethical infrastructure of education; restore ethics, integrity and best practices in education; and promote adherence to code of truth, honour and integrity around which the search for and dissemination of knowledge revolve. Corruption in education is symbolized by the epidemic of pervasive and systemic examination malpractice and academic dishonesty. Most Nigerians still make the mistake of thinking of examination malpractice as the simple act of indiscretion by students to cheat. Examination malpractice has metamorphosed into organized criminal activity like drug and human trafficking, kidnapping, advanced fee scams. It is now big criminal enterprise controlled by criminal syndicates with links and members embedded in education ministries, agencies, boards and institutions as well as in examination councils. The street value of organized exam fraud operated by syndicates is estimated to be in excess of N100 billion per year in Nigeria. Exam fraud syndicates operate with extreme impunity because it is risk free on account of lack of political will to implement sanctions and because almost all categories of stakeholders, including some political leaders, are members of exam fraud syndicates. .