By Awan Achiek
Opinion – Examinations fraud and malpractice in South Sudan is no longer a secret but an existing and open reality. We must talk about it. You might have come across news trending regarding exams being leaked out and shared on social media.
As of recent, during Primary Eight Leaving Examinations, the office of Professional Teachers Union-Lakes State accused authorities at the Ministry of Education at national level of being accomplices in exam cheating and irregularities.
The examination malpractice has gone up on the unprecedented scale since the country gained independence from Sudan in 2011.
In fact, it is not only happening in Primary and Secondary school levels but it has begun to establish its roots at the main private and public institutions across the country.
I personally feel bad when I see students cheating exams in some influential Universities in the country. It is even worse with medical students, engineers, economists and law students whom the future of this country entirely depends on.
I am not against any student passing highly at any level of education but I am worried about the future of our Country at the hands of such professionals.
The future of the present and the afterward generations will face serious negative repercussions at the hands of these professionals in all aspects.
Just imagine, how many patients will die at the hands of such doctors? How many houses will collapse at the hands of such engineers? How many billions of South Sudanese pounds will get lost at the hands of such economists and accountants? How many people will be sentenced to jail for crimes they have not committed at the hands of such lawyers or judges?
Some of us have all witnessed how those students who made their way through cheating portrayed a bad image of our beloved country abroad, especially students who went on government scholarships. People ended up questioning our education system after they performed badly in their various fields.
You will agree with me beyond reasonable doubt that the collapse of the education system is the collapse of a nation. The future of this country depends on professionals in all aspects but if they are not well trained and nurtured, they will end up destroying the country.
Concerned authorities vowed on several occasions to deliver quality education in the country which promise has not yielded any fruit up to date. We have continued to hear examinations being leaked out and they (Ministry of Education) don’t investigate the allegations of exam fraud and hold those involved accountable for their actions and the business continues as usual.
As far as I am concerned, quality education means bringing positive changes to learners. It means helping students grow mentally from darkness of illiteracy to light of self-confident, self-reliant and better future.
We should rather celebrate the good performances of one student with self-confidence than millions of students who passed exams due to dishonesty and cheating.
All in all, the Ministry of Higher and General Education should try their best to fight examination malpractice in South Sudan. That is the only way to save the future of our country. It is not too late; something can be done to put to halt such unethical practice.
There is need to activate the role of the educational and psychological counselors in helping students in the development of quality programs since the beginning of the school year on the instructions of cheating, enlightening the students of the damage caused by these misconducts, urging teachers to be flexible, avoid complex tests, develop an educational evaluation system, and adopt strict anti-fraud regulations.
Educational institutions should lay down principles that must be adhered to. One of them being the restrictions and banning the use of all forms of electronic devices during examinations.
The supervision must be strict. There is a need to apply the strict laws against students who are involved in this fraud.
Another solution is to punish the student and forbid them from taking the exam for one session and this must also include nullification of the examinations for any school can has indulgence in examinations malpractices
By taking those steps to prevent cheating, we can better help our students grow into responsible and knowledgeable adults. With some forethought and effort, a teacher can prevent cheating before it happens and can set up the classroom to help prevent students from being able to cheat.
The author is a South Sudanese journalist and can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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