The National Assembly yesterday proposed a 10-year jail term to replace the law on examination malpractices, which stipulates a four-year jail term with an option of N100, 000 fine.
This follows its determination to check the increasing rate of examination fraud in the country.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services, Mohammed Zakari, disclosed this at the opening of a two-day summit organised by the international office of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) on examination malpractice.
He noted that the existing penalty was not enough to discourage perpetrators of examination scams.
Zakari spoke as the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, raised the alarm that the scourge of examination malpractice had assumed a criminal dimension.
He identified Nigerians’ preference for paper qualifications over skills as the major cause of examination malpractice.
“Examination malpractice has become a major challenge facing Africa and Nigeria in particular and if we don’t kill it, it will ruin us and our younger generation.
“The four-year jail term with option of fine for offenders is no longer feasible to deter the perpetrators and I think if we can introduce a 10-year jail term without an option of fine those engaging in the practice will know that we are committed and serious about fighting this menace,” he added.
Zakari accused coaching and “miracle” centres as “factories that produce fake results’, and called on stakeholders to join forces to combat the menace.
Adamu, who was represented by Mohammed Karagi, indicted parents and school administrators for aiding and abetting the practice and lamented that the advent of the social media has further worsened the situation.
His words: “The illegal act by candidates before, during and after examinations to attain success cheaply and easily drives them to criminal level in order to achieve their inordinate ambition, thereby rendering the worth of examination invalid.”
The council Chairman, Evelyn Kandakai, cautioned that the consequences of examination malpractices on national and sub-regional development were grave and frightening, as its multiplier effect on economies was destructive.
The Registrar, Iyi Uwadiae, also lamented that examination malpractice had remained a thorn in the flesh of examining bodies.
He warned that its consequences on the country’s educational system and the society were grave and worrisome adding, “Apart from the damage it does to the image of examining bodies in terms of credibility and reputation, a huge amount of resources are committed yearly to fighting the menace.
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