EXAMINATION MALPRACTICE AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIAL INJUSTICE: THE EROSION OF CONTENT, COMMUNITY & CHARACTER
It has become a norm, in almost every public examination period, ACC Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala, will share snippets of the commission's scorpion squad, busting malpractice rings. With fairness to the commission, they have done a decent job engaging education sector participants on the regrets and ramifications of corrupt actions, especially during public examinations. This scenario is an example of corruption fighting back, as the commission’s czar will say.
Let us go down memory lane. At one point in history, Sierra Leone was dubbed the Athens of West Africa. The country clustered scholars and students from across the sub-region. They were racing to this land to produce, receive, and share knowledge on diverse learning subjects. This moment of greatness was erased from the surface of the ground. The Bio-led administration mandated itself to regain this long-lost glory through the Free Quality Education Programme (FQEP) from primary through secondary school and build on the education trends of the 21st century. Examination malpractice is a negative element that sabotages the human capital development drive. The social stones of content, community and character erode in the process.
Content refers to the knowledge, skills and valuespeople learn. In school scenarios where examination malpractice is happening, most of the student population will either lack the discipline to study or be starved of content by school authorities. The progress of any country is mainly dependent on enlightened people. And the school system is critical in bringing enlightenment to the broader society. Suppose the student population custom itself to a robust and rigorous learning system. In that case, they will be equipped to confront and resist the challenges the work world throws at them upon graduation. The effect on the nation's output is positive.
Community is an essential aspect of the Sierra Leone culture. The school community is one platform that has created lifelong relationships. The cohesion of old student alumni associations can be attributedin part to the shared experiences of secondary school, especially in the colonial and pre-civil war era. Examination malpractice has played an active role in undermining the fabrics of social cohesion in the educational environment. When students have evidence of unfairness in examination administration, they tend to resent the people and their peers that created the inequality. An examination system implemented on the foundations of social justice can develop a sense of community among the participants.
Besides professional content and community, examination malpractice has so much to do with a person’s character. Character is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. The malpractice menace has affected students’ preparation for excellence in national leadership and service. If examination malpractice is encouraged, people will accept it as the norm of passage in the academic journey. As a matter of concern, ethics is a missing piece in the professional puzzle. A public examination administered correctly offers students good character and ethics.
Examination malpractice continues to undermine professional content, community building, and our youth's character pillars. The solidity of these parameters was among the many reasons our education system hadrespect across the sub-region. The Anti-Corruption Commission’s Scorpion Squad is trying its best to clamp down on this societal injustice. But this fight can only be won with the entire populace onboard. The success of the government's human capital development drive is dependent on a structured education system. Lawyer Kaifala-led ACC is a proponent in helping the country regain its long-lost glory and build on the president's vision – human capital development.