From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
In its bid to clamp down on agents of examination malpractice, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), has blacklisted 13 secondary schools in Kogi state for their large scale involvement in exam fraud last year with a pronouncement that the affected schools will no longer be recognised by the council.
Also the examination body gave seriously warning to 56 other schools whose level of involvement in the examination malpractice during the 2018 school certificate examinations were considered lower.
The WAEC Desk Officer, Kogi State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mr Ademu Amos, disclosed this at a meeting with the Principals, Vice Principals (academics) and Examination Officers of the affected schools in Lokoja.
Amos said that 13 secondary schools were de-recognised, while 56 schools were seriously warned by WAEC due to examination malpractice.
He expressed concern about the situation and said that the State Government was not happy about it, describing it as a serious issue that could kill the hope of a nation.
Amos quoted the Examination Malpractices Act No. 33 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Government which stipulates that offenders are liable to four years imprisonment and a fine of N100,000 per each student and N250,000 per school.
He said that the major offences committed were the use of mobile phones and sameness of work by coping one another in the exam.
Speaking at the meeting, Dr Natty Bobai, the Branch Controller of WAEC in Kogi, said that the Council had zero tolerance for exam malpractice, and would do everything to curtail the menace.
He expressed his gratitude to the commissioner for tackling issues bordering on examination headlong and her resolve to stand with the Council for what it stood for.
He urged all stakeholders to join hands with the Council and stamped out the menace of exam malpractice in the nation’s education sector.
Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology in the state, reiterated the commitment of the state government to reduce exam malpractice in Kogi to the barest minimum.
Osikoya stressed that stiff penalties as prescribed by law and other stringent measures would be used to curb the menace in the state.
She recalled that 47 secondary schools were derecognised and 108 ‘seriously warned’ in 2017, while 13 schools were derecognised and 56 seriously warned in 2018.
She noted that the state government had been able to reduce the trend of exam malpractice in Kogi to 27. 6 per cent for derecognised, 50.9 per cent for seriously warned, and 1.38 per cent for indicted schools.
She restated the state government’s commitment to restore standard and quality education in schools across the state.
She urged all schools’ operators both private and public, to visit the ministry’s website and update their school profiles and records not later than March 31, 2019.
”All the derecognised schools would not be used as examinations’ centre in 2019, and their names would be sent to the police for prosecution according to the existing law.
”We have strengthened the policy structure in education and emphasised the important of record keeping in schools in Kogi”, Osikoya said.
Dr Ajole Goswins, the State President of Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), who spoke on behalf of the principals, expresse disappointment over the reappearance of some schools on examination malpractice list.
He appealed to the state government to checkmate the proliferation of substandard private schools in the state.
According to the commissioner, the derecognised schools include: Jama’atu Nasril Islam Sec. Sch., Ankpa, Christ The King College, Govt. Girls Sec. Sch., Okaba, Ikah Comm. Sec. Sch., Ikah, Iyale Comm. Sec. Sch., Iyale, and Aitam Science Academy, Anyigba.
Others are Al-Ansar Sec. Sch., Lokoja, Bright Future Int. Sec. Sch., Obangede, Okehi Comm. Sec. Sch., Uboro, Paramako Sec. Sch., Ogbogbo, Omabo Comm. Sec. Sch., Omabo, First Grade Success Academy, Okenya, and National Sec. Sch. Agala-Ate road, Anyigba.