Exam malpractices negatively affect citizens efforts in development

Educational Journey with EPHAT MUDENDA
IF TEACHERS become involved in examination malpractices, then no doubt education standards take a downward spiral.Learners, who are supposed to positively contribute to the country’s development, can end up being ‘educated illiterates’.
In the past, the focus was on students who had a tendency of using leakages to pass their exams.
And some people even have had the audacity to enter examination rooms, sit and write on behalf of others who are registered candidates.
It is true that today cases of examination malpractice in institutions of learning are not only rising, but have become complicated and sophisticated in nature.
This is why the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) should be supported fully by all stakeholders as it fights against the scourge.
It is encouraging to learn that the council is now planning to establish a legal department which will enable it to effectively deal with cases of exam malpractice.
ECZ director Michael Chilala recently said the department will have the mandate of investigating and prosecuting cases once the ECZ Act is amended to include new forms of malpractices such as ‘assistance’.
“There is a new type of examination malpractice which has emerged which is called aiding. Teachers help pupils by writing examinations for them…,” he said.
The legal department will allow teachers to expose those involved in exam malpractices as it will protect them from victimisation of any kind.
Before the start of examinations, all teachers who are scheduled to take part in administering them, swear before the whole nation that they will be as transparent, responsible, accountable, and truthful and fair as possible at all times.
No undue advantage of any form is to be offered to one candidate over another during examinations.
At the end of the year, as we will be seeing young ones heading to various schools to write exams, our understanding will be that they have had a good number of years during which they prepared adequately through learning and studying.
They should be ready to confidently face any paper for which they registered. And every task during this period shall be done on an individual basis with full knowledge of the rules and regulations that accompany the exams.
Exam malpractice is any form of deliberate cheating on examinations which provides one or more candidates with an unfair advantage. This illegal practice can be perpetrated by an individual, two students, a group, or teachers.
It can take place within the classroom or outside.
All stakeholders in the education sector should openly discourage malpractices, and work together to instil a sense of hard work and truthfulness in young people for the sake of national development.
However, this can only be done if people are fully aware of the causes of examination malpractices and the impact they cause on individuals and the society.
Lazy pupils who have little or no time to study are the ones who often fall prey to this evil. It is such children who become extremely desperate.
Because they want to pass by all means, swimming in examination ‘leakages’ is more inviting to them than anything else.
Another factor relates to syllabuses of certain subjects that are too wide and difficult for most teachers to cover, especially in public schools.
The situation is worsened by holidays, which further shorten the period when pupils must receive all that they need for the final stage of their studies
This in itself entails inadequate preparation for exams.
In schools where teachers are few and specialised ones are even fewer, it is difficult to prepare learners in a manner that they must feel they are indeed examination candidates.
When invigilators and supervisors (teachers) become corrupt for some selfish gain of any kind, despite the fact that they swore to uphold their ethics and integrity, learners begin to think they can buy their way to success after all.
No wonder, therefore, that there is a general trend in society towards cheating, as some people grow up believing that cheating actually works.
Unfortunately, the real consequences of examination malpractices negatively affect the whole education system.
Many brilliant children cannot go to college because cheating candidates have very good results and are enrolled in institutions of higher learning.
But for those who cheated, in the long run, cheating makes them guilty as they are haunted by the fact that they cannot prove that they truly deserve a certificate or degree.
As more individuals acquire certificates through cheating at different levels of the educational ladder, the general population is affected.
The scourge may lead students to commit acts of fraud or other illegal or immoral acts in the wider community.
In most cases, such individuals are underprepared for future workplace tasks and job skills and other work-related programmes.
Besides low morale and questionable ethics later in life, lack of creativity and resourcefulness are the other results of examination malpractices.
The evil, no doubt, works against the country’s social, religious, economic and political fabric, thereby negatively affecting citizens’ efforts towards socio-economic development.

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