By Ike Onyechere, MFR
The Exam Ethics Marshals Movement was founded in 1996 in Nigeria as a global not-for-profit, non-governmental, membership movement of education stakeholders committed to promoting ethics, integrity and best practices in education anchored on zero tolerance for exam malpractice.
The Movement came into being in response to the rise of exam malpractice and academic dishonesty and its mutation from mere indiscretion by students to organized money-making criminal enterprise aided, abetted, facilitated and perpetrated by networks of ethics-unfriendly educators and stakeholders in educational ministries, agencies and institutions.
Every educator and stakeholder in Africa understands the types, variations, perpetrators and pervasiveness of exam malpractice and academic dishonesty from primary to secondary to tertiary education and the consequential dangers which are now clear, present, systemic and institutionalized. We taste and experience the bitter mutations and life and death consequences on daily basis.
Education today is challenged by at least forty (40) different types and variations of exam malpractice. The result is that Education is no longer able to perform its role of raising leaders, citizens, professionals and workers with character to shun corruption and competence to deliver transformation.
Systemic exam malpractice is at the root of collapse of moral foundation and infrastructure of education, collapse of moral fiber of society across all sectors and debilitating and pervasive corruption. Incompetent and unqualified workforce equipped and licensed with underserved certificates through malpractice are killing citizens through failed projects, services, businesses, institutions and governments. It is directly linked to the issue of brain drain and inability of Africa to achieve development goals.
But there is good news. Endorsed by the Nigerian National Council on Education in 2003, the Exam Ethics Marshals Project is an outstanding success story in terms of mobilizing and inspiring ethics-friendly education stakeholders to bond and work together in their institutions and beyond to promote exam ethics and combat exam malpractice.
Chapters of Exam Ethics Marshals Movement and Exam Ethics Students Clubs are being established in Exam Ethics Friend and Partner Institutions, as centres of excellence, to drive the silent ethical revolution that has been kick started by the Movement in educational institutions across Africa.
Exam Ethics Marshals are ethics-friendly educators who pledge and commit to: ethical self-regulation and discipline in their duty posts; to unwavering insistence on best practices in their spheres of leadership and operational influence; and to being mentors and models to pupils, students and colleagues.
Federal University of Kashere (FUK) in Gombe State Nigeria presents a case study and some lessons. On 21st of June, 2021, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Umaru A. Pate constituted the Exam Ethics Marshals Committee of the University with Professor I. S. Dugguh as Chairman and Mrs A.S. Genevive as Secretary. Other members of the Committee include Prof U.M. Bibi, Dr F.E. Panwal, Dr. J.E. Dudu, Dr. T.I. Tyoor, Dr (Mrs) Suwaiba M.Ladan and Mr Hassan N. Mohammed.
The terms of reference of the committee include maintaining ethics and promoting best practices in the conduct of examinations in the university, setting up the Exam Ethics Students Club of the University to inspire and mobilize other ethics-friendly students, advice the Vice-Chancellor on issues relating to exam ethics in the University, generally defend the integrity of education in the University, among others.
The Committee immediately swung into action and organized the first exam ethics sensitization programme for students on 7th July, 2021 providing students the opportunity to understand the benefits of exam ethics and the dangers of exam malpractice. Inaugural volunteer members of the Exam Ethics Students Club were accepted by the Committee.
Members of the Committee registered for the Online Exam Ethics Marshals Integration Certification Course and are billed to attend the induction and inauguration ceremony for new Exam Ethics Marshals scheduled to hold at Green Mind Hotel Abuja on 23rd July 2021 towards enhancing their capacity to deliver on their mandate.
FUK is cited as example of how ethics-friendly institutions in Africa are rising to the challenge of defending the integrity of education. Imagine the revolutionary impact in terms of ethics, quality and standards in education; in terms of raising leaders of tomorrow with character to shun corruption and competence to deliver transformation; in terms of laying the strong human resource foundation for sustainable development of Africa if all educational primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Africa buy into the Exam Ethics Marshals Project like FUK and other ethics-friendly institutions. Africa will surely be on its way to achieving its destiny as the next frontier of human civilization.
But for this to happen, a few of the lessons from FUK must be highlighted and celebrated. Professor Umaru A. Pate, the Vice-Chancellor is ethics-friendly and is inspiring his team to join in actualizing the vision of best practices and zero tolerance for malpractice. He selected and inaugurated a team of committed ethics-friendly officers to drive the process in the best tradition of collective responsibility and team work by all stakeholders. The University understands that beyond investment in physical infrastructure, investment in strengthening the moral infrastructure of education is equally important, if not more important. Think about it. Close your eyes and imagine for a moment and imagine the revolutionary impact if all institutions in Africa follow the FUK example.
Join History in the making. Join the ethical revolution in Education (www.examethicstraining.com). Attend the launching of the Online Exam Ethics Marshals Integrity Certification Training and the Induction of new Exam Ethics Marshals at Green Minds Hotel, Utako, Abuja on 23rd July by 10am.
Ike Onyechere, MFR is the Founding Chairman, Exam Ethics Marshals International.