Like corruption, examination malpractice is widespread in Sierra Leone and has made pupils and students not take their studies seriously.
Invigilators must have been compromising examination principles otherwise why would someone make such a call of appeal? Perhaps this is why the caller to SLBC’s MAKE YOU POINT made the plea to invigilators to give the candidates the chance to spy?!
Sierra Leone is no longer ‘the Athens of West Africa.’ Other universities have been set up in countries that used to send their nationals to gain knowledge at the Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Njala University and Milton Margai College of Education and Technology.
These institutions helped to train many of the leaders of various countries in Africa and beyond. They sent their sons and daughters here because our universities and colleges could provide for them the quality education they are seeking; the same education which could be available in Europe, Russia, and the USA. Yet, they trusted our own educational system here!
It is for this reason many Sierra Leoneans get employment outside the country even before finishing their course at Fourah Bay College, Njala University and Milton Margai colleges. From 1960 to the early 90s many Sierra Leonean graduates from these institutions found jobs in Liberia, Guinea, The Gambia and in countries outside Africa. This was because our educational institutions were held in high esteem.
Those Sierra Leoneans who went to offer their services in other countries after their graduation, excelled. They created huge impact in the lives of their young African brothers and sisters who became their pupils and students.
Those who went to teach and work in various institutions in West Africa and beyond, created a big impact on the lives of those they imparted their knowledge. There are Sierra Leonean graduates and non-graduates working in other institutions outside the country who have excellent communication skills.
On the contrary, it seems that the current crop of our graduates will not be able to teach or do other skilful jobs in the various institutions where their fellow citizens have been teaching.
With the current spate of perennial news about examination malpractices in schools, colleges and universities, what is education in Sierra Leone coming to?
If a pupil in one of the schools could be bold enough to say that invigilators are not giving them chance to spy, this means that pupils have been and were allowed to spy. Such students pass with excellent grades but when they enter college or university, they cannot even write their own names well or properly write an application letter or fill a simple form.
This is may be the apparent reason why education in Sierra Leone is going to the dustbin as most of those who teach the children may be empty-headed also. Hence, the pupils and students in our schools and universities could not write their own dissertations nor able to analyse or articulate well.
This is why most pupils and students do not care to study their notes because they know that there is always a back way to get their certificates and degrees.
This is a serious matter that needs the speedy intervention of Government by setting up a committee or commission to look into this perennial examination malpractice which has become a cankerworm in Sierra Leone.
Certificates and degrees held by Sierra Leonean graduates are held in high esteem all over the world. The certificates and degrees have helped Sierra Leoneans who have gone to countries such as The Gambia, Liberia, the USA, Europe and Australia to get good jobs which nationals in those countries could not get.
In The Gambia, for example, there are many Sierra Leoneans who holding senior positions in various schools in that country. Also, there are many Sierra Leoneans who are WAEC Examiners in The Gambia; all of them from either University of Sierra Leone or Milton Margai College of old.
However, with this cankerworm in our midst today, Sierra Leonean graduates from our current schools and universities who yearning to go to other countries may not get employment soon. Their certificates may be frowned upon.
Already Sir, there is huge unemployment problem in your government Sir. The brain drain had been helping the unemployment situation somehow. But now that it has become an open secret world wide that I our certificates and degrees not credible any longer, Sir, it is a big problem that needs to be tackled without delay.
I have been accused while I was in The Gambia in 2008 of not having an authentic degree as a Mass Communication expert. The National Training Authority (NTA), equivalent to our NCTVA frowned at my First Class Hons. Degree from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. But instead of complaining in the press, I asked for a Court Injunction three months in the country and won the case.
How many Sierra Leoneans will defend their certificates or degrees if they face such an embarrassment like the one I faced from the Gambia NTA if their degrees were to be scrutinized if they go out of Sierra Leone to work elsewhere?
Sir, there are so many Sierra Leonean graduates yearning to go to the Diaspora, but with this examination cankerworm, what guarantee will be there that their certificates and degrees will be respected any longer.
Government must contain this trend if we want Sierra Leone to have committed, honest and responsible future leaders. Examination malpractice is not helping the children; not helping Sierra Leone.