Recently the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) lamented the sad reality of exam malpractice across the country.
It became clear that for the vice to persist, the cheats operate in cahoots with authorities that should be at the forefront of ending it – school heads and local government leaders.
The main malpractice plaguing Uneb now is related to collusion between some exam invigilators, teachers and candidates.
Here, invigilators at a given school let teachers assist candidates with answers to questions. Many times, we hear that school heads and some district leaders are also in on the vice. It may explain why some district education officers will allow the same invigilators to supervise exams in particular schools.
However, the sadder fact is that the district education officers, invigilators, school head teachers and teachers should know better than to support exam malpractice. Why this persists given the resultant shame when they are caught out, is something that puzzles many.
Even sadder, is the fact that only the candidates and by extension their parents get punished when the school is blacklisted for exam malpractice. Their exam results are withheld and they have to fork out more precious money to repeat P7, if they ever do.
According to the permanent secretary at the ministry of Education, Alex Kakooza, there is a possibility that quite a number never continue with school after being shamed.
Apart from the children caught up in this web of deceit, the district education officers, invigilators, school head teachers and teachers involved should also be shamed and punished severely to deter others.
Allowing these officials to stay in office only extends the problem from one year to another, with a different set of candidates becoming the victims. It also shows the students that crime pays … a sad lesson to teach the next generation of leaders. That is why ending exam malpractice should be treated as a priority.