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Bastardization Of Nigerian Secondary School Education ―By Labi Michael

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“Education is light” used to be a favourite motto of many schools way back in my growing years. This motto was clearly used by many in those days (and these days) without giving thought to perspectives, shades and colours of light. 

What kind of light (education) are we shining forth (imparting). Are we not considering that candle light and the light bulb cannot be compared in terms of brightness?

Nigerian secondary school education has so sank over the years that its worthless value shines forth so much that it blinds us of our degree of ignorance and quantum of darkness that envelopes us. Standards have gone to the dogs and quality to the gutters. 

Charlatans and business men and women have taken the drivers’ seat while professionals have become waste in the physics of the current sorry situation. While the charlatans look chubby in their SUV’s, the professionals look worn out with grey hair and worn out shoes. Indeed, life is not fair.

How did we get so low? What did we do or are still doing wrong? Who is responsible for this decadence and total break down? How do we get out of this quagmire? And indeed, who will lead us out of this Egypt and in what direction is the promised land? Oh Moses, where art thou?

The highest point on this waterfall is our certificate centered way of life and the need to make it as a professional by “fire by force” and the advent of examination malpractice which has become so endemic, systematic, digital and even spiritual I dare say. 

I traced the course of this river of examination malpractice and this is what I found.

The cheating process starts from the registration. You have an option of registering as an appearance or nonappearance (aka ghost) candidate. Of course the ghost option is more expensive. 

The miracle centers take it on from here ensuring to get the right name, passport photo and subject combination. They handle the thumb printing for the ‘ghosts’ and generally ensure that ‘all is correct’. They then go to sleep and wait for the exam proper.

On each day of every paper, the supervisor appears with a green bag shackled like a hell bound entity to give the facade of security. 

The same supervisor ends up bargaining with the representative of the ‘ghosts’ on earth and their answer booklets are counted and issued to vicar of the ‘ghosts’ who in turn distributes it to hired transcribers for copying. 

Never mind about the question papers and who issues the answers, THE WHOLE ANSWERS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA. The copied scripts are then returned to the supervisor along with ‘his money’. 

All these are then packaged and the examination body carries out the charade called marking or in their language ‘Coordination’. Two months later, the results are out and the ghost gets all his/her credits without ever stepping into the exam hall.

For the appearance candidate, he/she goes to the examination hall, but pays a token so the internet available answers are photocopied and distributed and in some cases, written directly on a board INSIDE THE EXAMINATION HALL.

It is pertinent to note that the whole process of this examination malpractice is all about money and results. If you have the money, you’ll get the good result. The miracle centers milk all the money they can from these students both ‘live’ and  ‘ghosts’ as much as they can. 

They  triple the registration fee originally stipulated by the examination bodies, they charge for practicals, school uniforms( That the ghost would never wear), school badge, I.D card, clearance and wait for it, they actually charge for ‘assistance’. 

The Mathematical sets that the students paid for in their registration fees are resold to them and of course its compulsory to buy. The scratch card which the examination body sends to the students for checking of their result is also resold. 

The miracle centers only pray for the result that year to be good, once that happens, the students again pay through their nose just to get a statement of result. 

A miracle center can sometimes register as much as seven hundred or more students for an examination when in reality its student population is about three hundred and the whole school could be cited on as little as one plot of land.

Take note that the poor teacher who laboured in the classroom to groom the students to no avail is  no more needed, whether or not he taught well is no more an issue. The school proprietor shamelessly collects all these monies and move on to the next agenda without a blink. 

I call them ‘Twilocks’ because they are hybrid versions of the great Oliver Twist and our beloved Shylock in that masterpiece ‘The merchant of Venice’. They are never satisfied and want every naira out of you. Every human, a Twilock sees has a money value. They leave mercy and charity for the priests and pastors.

SUMMERY AND INFERENCE

Altogether, there are a lot of factors that contribute to this sorry state of affairs and modus operandi. The first culprit in this chain of shame is the examination bodies. They are the ones that give room for all this. 

How on earth will a national or indeed an international examination be going on and all the answers are on the internet and social media? 

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