Thursday, May 30, 2024

NECO Seeks Stringent Laws To Tackle Examination Malpractice

The Registrar/Chief Executive of National Examination Council, NECO, Professor Ibrahim Dantani Wushishi, has called for a comprehensive national examination law to specifically regulate all aspects of examinations in Nigeria.

He said this would help in tackling the major challenge of examination malpractices, which remain a persistent threat to the integrity of examinations in the country.

Wushishi spoke in Abuja at a one-day retreat organized by NECO titled Legislative Functions: The Imperatives of Achieving NECO’s Mandate and the Challenges of Examination Legislation in Nigeria.

Read Also: NECO digitalises recruitment of examination supervisors

He noted national law could establish a framework that allows for incorporating new technologies like computer-based testing (CBT) or alternative assessment methods while maintaining core principles of fairness and security.

He said strong examination legislation could contribute to aligning Nigerian qualifications with international standards, adding that this could benefit students seeking educational opportunities abroad or pursuing careers requiring internationally recognized credentials.

This underscores the critical need for a comprehensive national examination law specifically regulating all aspects of examinations in Nigeria.

We lack such a law, relying instead on a patchwork of regulations across examination bodies and individual schools. This creates vulnerabilities in the system. Effective examination legislation offers a multitude of benefits.

According to him, the challenges in fulfilling NECO’s mandate highlight the critical need for a robust legislative framework.

He identified infrastructure constraints, surge in candidate enrollment, adequate funding, examination malpractice, amongst others as some of the key hurdles faced by the examination body.

He also stressed the need for a review of the existing laws of the Council.

Some stakeholders in the education sector at the event also called for a thorough review of existing laws governing NECO.

The review, according to them would instigate reforms that reflect the technological advancements and evolving needs of the educational landscape.

Among those at the event are the governor of Niger state, Mohammed Umar Bago, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Didi Esther Walson-Jack, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, and Senators, amongst others.

On his part, Governor Bago, who was the chairman of the occasion, said it was important to look into the existing laws that guide NECO in the conduct of its various examinations to address issues of artificial intelligence.

This retreat is very timely and I’m very impressed that the members of National Assembly are fully represented looking at what is forward for examination bodies like NECO in terms of innovation, the Imperative of changing or amending our laws to be in tandem with technology, time and innovation.

For instance, artificial intelligence has come to stay so our law must also be able to key into these technological advancements. So this retreat is timely.

Also speaking, the Minister of State for education, Sununu Tanko, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Didi Esther Walson-Jack, urged participants to actively engage in the discussions to enable NECO to effectively achieve its mandate.

NECO plays an indispensable role in ensuring the sustainable management of our educational landscape.

Despite the significance of the examination legislation, we cannot ignore the challenges we face, from outdated laws and validation to emerging issues like examination malpractice and digital transformation, there’s an urgent need to review and modernise the legislative framework to effectively address these challenges.

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