PRESS STATEMENT: 20-Point Marshal  Plan of Action for Eradicating Exam Malpratice  in Three Years

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Ike Onyechere
The Exam Ethics Marshals International Conference  has recommended a *20-Point Marshal Plan of Action* for combating exam malpractice in education. If holistically implemented with strong political will under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Education, the plan will yield 10 distinct outcomes including :total eradication of malpractices in admissions, training, examination, certification, registration and regulation processes within three years; drastic reduction of sex-for-grade and money-for-grade epidemics; restoration  of code of truth, honesty,  honor,  ethics and moral values in education; improved world rating of educational institutions; and better chance of winning of the anti-corruption law.
The Conference, held from 24th  to 26th  September 2019 in Abuja ,was supported and facilitated by Federal Ministry of Education and declared open by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry.
197 delegates from 56  agencies attended out of which 41 were inaugurated as new Exam Ethics Marshals. 12 high impact papers were presented by various agencies.
The Conference observed: that the scale, scope and complexity of exam malpractice and its mutation into organized criminal enterprise pose great dangers for education, national development and security if not curbed; that combating the scourge requires inclusive inter-agency collaboration of all stakeholders in the best tradition of collective responsibility and team work; and that there was urgent need for robust and comprehensive review of obsolete laws which woefully failed in providing legal frameworks for combating the scourge.
 It is against this background that the Conference commended the Federal Ministry of Education and other stakeholders for supporting and facilitating the successful implementation of the conference.
The Conference singled out campus cultism, sex-for-grade and money-for-grade as “ticking time bombs in the belly of the education system” that require special attention.
The summary of the 20 recommendations include:
1. Floating by the Federal Ministry of Education of a national on-line blacklist register of educational institutions and individuals indicted and sanctioned by examination bodies or educational institutions for aiding, abetting and involvement in examination malpractice.
2. Floating by the Federal Ministry of Education of a national on-line blacklist register of lecturers and teachers indicted for sex-for-grade, money-for-grade and sexual harassment.
3.  Ultimatum by the Hon. Minister of Education to Governing Councils and Heads of Tertiary Institutions to eradicate cultism in their institutions within six months or be relieved of their jobs.
4. Selection of the best and brightest education officials to serve as education inspectors, regulators, supervisors and quality assurances officers.
5. Identification and closing down of  “magic exam centres” licensed and operating as “schools” by State Education Ministries/FCT Education Secretariat in partnership with law enforcement agencies.
6. Prompt identification, isolation, sanction and blacklisting of regulators, inspectors and education officers involved and complicit in recommending, facilitating, approving and licensing of unqualified schools by State Education Ministries/FCT Education Secretariat.
7. On-line publication and  strict enforcement  of clear regulations and minimum benchmarks for part time, distance learning and sandwich programmes.
8. Floating of Private Schools Development Endowment Fund facilitated by capital market operators, financial institutions, pension funds, insurance companies, and Central Bank of Nigeria to be accessed by ethics-compliant private schools.
9. Substantial enhancement of  budgetary allocations to the education sector ; enhancement of salaries and allowances of teachers; and placing payment of salaries, allowances and pensions of teachers on first charge of fund disbursement.
10. Robust and comprehensive review of laws for combating exam malpractice, academic dishonesty, cultism and sexual abuse in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of education by federal and state legislator.
11. Establishment of special exam malpractice desks under their education units anti-corruption agencies including the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to focus exclusively on issues related to exam malpractice, academic dishonesty and associated scams.
12. Massive public enlightenment campaigns by the National Orientation Agency supported by Federal and State Ministries of information and Education.
13. Institution of high profile annual awards to recognize, celebrate, motivate and inspire educational institutions, exam administrators and other individuals for outstanding and distinguished contributions towards promoting exam ethics, combating exam malpractice and defending the integrity of education by examination  bodies in partnership with Governments, NGOs, educational institutions and corporate organizations.
14. Designation of an Annual Exam Ethics Day by Federal Ministry of Education to be celebrated each year in all educational institutions.
15. Incorporation of exam ethics and campus safety lectures into General Studies programmes of first year students in tertiary institutions
16. Members of panels for accreditation of institutions, programmes and courses to back their reports with sworn affidavits on oath so that they can be tried for perjury if the report turns out to be false.
17.  Launching and sustained
Implementation of marshal plan of action for eradication cultism in primary, secondary and tertiary educational institutions. In this regard ,the conference in session mandated Exam Ethics Marshals International to work with other stakeholders to host a specialized national consultative conference of education leaders to develop and streamline the action plan. Participation in the Conference to be staged in Abuja from 9th to 13th December, 2019 should be open to concerned and interested  stakeholders.
18. Establishment of Exam Ethics and Campus Safety units by State Education Ministries/FCT Education secretariat in line with the example of the Federal Ministry of Education for focused implementation of exam ethics initiatives
19. Re-activation of the Joint Action Committee on Exam Ethics (JACEE) under the Exam Ethics and Campus Safety Unit of the Federal Ministry of Education to champion focused, inclusive, inter-agency collaborative implementation of exam ethics initiatives.
20. Re-affirmation  of  mandate(FME/S./C125/2003/1/45 of 3rd December 2003)  of the National Council on Education  for all Educational Institutions to enlist as Exam Ethics Friend and Partner Institutions by establishing chapters of Exam Ethics Marshals Movement and Exam Ethics Students Club.
The Marshal plan is distilled from the proceedings of the 23rd Exam Ethics Marshals Conference.
The contributions of the Federal Ministry of Education delegation led by Koli Salihu, Assistant Director and Head of Exam Ethics and Campus Safety Unit of the Ministry is acknowledged and appreciated.
Please visit www.
examethicsmarshals.org to read the full report and recommendations of the Conference .
*Ike Onyechere, MFR,*
*Founding Chairman, Exam Ethics Marshals International.*
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