Columnists Features

Examination malpractice: An evil against society

Educational Journey with EPHAT MUDENDA
PRIOR to the national exams at grade seven, nine and 12 levels, all the teachers who are scheduled to take part in administering them swear before the whole nation that they will be as transparent, responsible, accountable, truthful and fair as possible at all times. No undue advantage of any form is to be offered to one candidate over another.
If it were possible, parents of those pupils who will be taking the examinations would be given an opportunity to hold the Bible and swear that their children will not be involved in any form of examination malpractice. But that is not possible because the direct subject in the system is the learner, who is expected to exhibit self-discipline for his or her own good, now and in the future.
In the coming weeks, as we will be seeing young ones heading to various schools where exams will be written, our understanding will be that they have had a good number of years during which they prepared adequately through learning and studying, and that now they are 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.
Therefore, a pupil copying from a friend’s paper, bringing into the exam room ‘cheat material’, impersonating another person during an exam, or indeed refusing to stop writing when the time is up, among other traits, amount to nothing but exam malpractice.
Examination malpractice can be defined as any form of deliberate cheating on examinations which provides one or more candidates with an unfair advantage or disadvantage. This illegal practice can be perpetrated by an individual, two students, or a group. It can take place within the classroom or outside, for instance, when learners gather in one house at night to discuss a paper that is presumed to be one that they should be writing the following morning.
It is such bad behaviour among pupils that teachers, parents, guardians and society as a whole should openly discourage and, instead, strive to instil a sense of hard work and truthfulness in young minds. 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.
There is no better term to refer to pupils who have little or no time to study than lazy characters. It is such children who become extremely desperate, thinking that passing the exams is a do-or-die affair. Because they want to excel 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 course.
This in itself entails inadequate preparation for exams. In schools where teachers are few and specialised ones are fewer, it is difficult to prepare learners in a manner that they must feel they are indeed examination candidates.
When invigilators and supervisors become corrupt for some selfish gain of any kind, despite the fact that they swore to uphold their ethics and integrity, then the students 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 malpractice 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 projects.
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 social, religious, economic and political lives in the land.

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