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The Impact of Exam Malpractices on Future Leaders of Ghana

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The tagline, mantra or slogan of every organisation defines its identity. In other words, a tagline speaks a lot about the uniqueness of an institution. Times without number, we hear of some institutions with catchy slogans such as “Excellence”, “That All May Be One”, “God Is the Light of All Knowledge”, “Knowledge Is Power”, “Service, Honesty, Character and Integrity”, among others which all express the heart or crux of these institutions’ core values. But, how expressly truthful are we in living according to the core principles of our slogans?

As a nation, we must begin to weigh the totality of our educational system and ask about the kind of leaders we would like to raise in playing a major role towards national development.

Education should not only be seen as the acquisition of relevant information for mental development, but as the psychological and moral development of the learner who becomes fully resourceful, thereby making the immediate society a better place to be.

How truthful are we in our quest to make our educational system extremely beneficial to our communal growth?

Until certain policies are put in place, and committed hearts geared towards the implementation of these policies, we shall continue to hang in the wonderland and raise half-baked future leaders whose impact on all the pillars of society will be negligible. Truth must be told in awakening our consciousness to flow mode thinking.

Burgess (2011) posits that various theories and views of truth continue to be debated among scholars, philosophers and even theologians. There are many different questions about the nature of truth which are still the subject of contemporary debates, such as: How do we define truth? Is it possible to give an informative definition of truth? What things are truth-carriers and therefore capable of being dubbed truth or falsehood? What role does truth play in constituting knowledge?

If truth is the state of being honest, loyal and sincere in all aspects of life, especially raising competent future leaders for this country, we must be bold enough to weigh the method of transmitting the right information to our learners, and without any hypocritical way, assess the way we conduct examinations at all levels in our country. It calls for consultations with all credible stakeholders without any ulterior motive but purely, for the development of the minds and lives of our future leaders.

Until we keep high standards in overruling average level of reasoning, conceptualization of ideals which is the bedrock of every thriving society and the impartation of knowledge will be of no relevance to our country.

Imbalanced ways of life through the acts of lies, hypocrisy and divisive tactics do not build a healthy society. Instead, they lead to the breakdown of the moral fibre of our communities.

In dealing with people from different political and social backgrounds and understudying the attitudes and philosophies of people from different cultures, I respectfully advise all administrators of our country’s schools from the basic to the tertiary levels to be deeply rooted in their institutions’ mantra by inspiring their instructors and learners to positively raise the academic standards to another level.

I have deep affinity towards total education. I believe the minds of teaching and non-teaching staff of every school must be drawn to their institution’s vision statement which is automatically premised on academic excellence and moral training.

As administrators, instructors or lecturers of schools and colleges, we must begin to ask ourselves the kind of society we would love to live in for the next few years.

The posture of this present generation of students in our country’s educational institutions suggests the urgent need for an intellectual debate among dependable backers. Do we want to continuously breed a society of felons or a community with less social vices? Think about this!!!

Most of today’s students do less individual analytical study, hence, they cannot fully interpret issues relating to examination practices. If the foundation of work done in the classroom is porous, the outcome will be like reckless monkeys swinging on the branches of a tree having a very weak stem.

In general, I know how hardworking some instructors are in the delivering of relevant information. However, others in some quarters are producing false equilibriums with their work output, thereby making students inactive as they are promised fabricated information to write an examination. In fact, most students do not know what they want to achieve , so any crooked person can easily mislead them in taking unapprised decisions.

The advice I give to selfish, duplicitous and dishonest instructors/invigilators is, in their bid of supplying answers to students in the examination hall, they are not only teaching them to steal but also, invariably opening their doors for annihilation. Remember the Biblical phrase, “there is a way that seems right before a man but the end is destruction” (Proverbs 14:12).

Instructors must examine their conscience and remember the responsibilities that they have been entrusted with. Indeed, they should quickly recall the fact that they have been gainfully employed to protect, nurture and shape the thoughts of our students to work hard towards academic excellence and more!!!

Having had the opportunity to offer academic counselling programmes to countless number of institutions in our country, I always draw the attention of both learners and staff to the implications of falsehood and dubious means in making excellent grades which consequently, make students live with guilt, shame and low self-esteem. It is shameful to paint a larger picture of excellence to be garlanded or decorated by the public when the portrait of falsehood paddles the canoe to the seashore.

The growing spectre of learners’ unwillingness to sit down and study is painful to watch. Their only hope is in ‘cooked answers’ made ready for them by twarts in the system shamelessly hungry and in hurry like a ferocious horse on a gallop to their domain. How painful it is!

We are so grade-conscious that using a wrong method to achieve ‘good results’ is our focal concern. It’s a total waste of time to sit for hours deliberating on students’ performance, when we actually know that wrong methods were used in producing unmerited grades. What a world!

Until we remain truthful to ourselves as managers of schools, the hanker for rating or recognition will be inoperably, useless.

Students should be taught to rather use the right method in getting their desired grades. We must be courageous enough to tell today’s students, the consequences of examination malpractices.

How would you feel, if a future quack doctor or pharmacist prescribes or administers the wrong medication to you?

How would you feel, if a future falsified accountant, business man, architect, scientist, academic, religious leader or a politician leads an organisation or constituency? Your guess is as clear as mine – total shipwreck!!!

I challenge all and sundry to think about the impact of examination malpractices on the development of our nation. Imagine students having manufactured grades on their result slips when they do not qualify for such exploits. What a great disservice to our development.

Invigilators of examinations should be truthful enough to monitor an examination paper in making us know the true reflection of students’ output.

I am of the view that stringent measures should be put in place in punishing perpetrators of examination derelictions. They must know that the law of the land is more powerful than any pen or any computer device used in under covering questions from the Examination Council.

It must be known that, no matter how relevant technology is towards teaching and learning, its wrong usage steals the attention of our students. Maybe, the government should critically weigh the stage at which mobile phones can be allowed for use in our pre-tertiary levels, particularly in the Senior High Schools. No matter how necessary they are, they are destructive gadgets to non-achievers at the basic levels.

Most administrators of our country’s institutions should certainly be watchful and if possible, make quick changes, especially when the boat of success is speedily sinking into the abyss of depression and disgrace.

The love for quality education drives me to draw our attention on our core mandate as educators.

We must be bold enough to address the challenges that confront us as a country and devise the appropriate measures to mitigate them.

Psychologically, posting a defamatory message to counter a good thought doesn’t solve an existing problem. Instead, it worsens the situation.

Imperialistic leadership style in some schools, colleges, or institutions doesn’t bring out the best in people. It rather kills their potentials. I am of the opinion that people must be well-guided in their approach to pertinent issues but they must not be stopped from expressing their thoughts or views.

People who genuinely express their feelings want the best for a system and not those who serpentinely dance around the truth or actuality with no desire for a positive change.

Remember, when people express their opinions with a determined posture in order to help make a system better, they are not complaining. Instead, they want the system to be better. Let’s think about this!!!

To cap it all, it’s about time we gave our schools and colleges a refined image through our collective game-changing efforts and not through a cunning way of direction. This way, we give meaning to the true desire to shape our kids properly for the mantle of honest leadership and sincere dealings in our body politic. Is anybody listening?.

 

Source: Dr. Patrick Owusu

The author, Dr. Patrick Owusu is an Academic, Visiting Lecturer and a Reverend Minister. Email:patrickowusu799@gamil.com

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