Sunday, March 08, 2009

Bribing, cheating and lying

In Nigeria, the rot of corruption seems to set in early. A friend was invited to be a judge at a competition at a local school recently. She found out that some parents had paid bribes to some of the teachers for their child to win. The protests were just a little too loud when none of the 'supported' children won. In later discussion, I was told that when some parents introduce their kid to a new school, they often give the child's teachers quite large sums of money to 'like' the new pupil.

Things are much worse at the tertiary level. I wonder what percentage of university students go through college without 'dobbing' - copying another's work or cheating results in one way or another? 20%? 30%? Or am I being a little unfair? It seems, from discussions with various people, that cheating results at university has become normalised, with few people considering a 2i or a First to be genuinely deserved in most cases.

If the above is a snapshot of anything closely resembling the general case in Nigeria, no wonder the rot is found everywhere. Nigeria needs a strong Education Minister at both Federal and State levels (for all state) and some strict policies to stamp out the culture of cheating and bribing that seems to be everywhere in education here.


SECRET DIARY 9:47 pm  

Good talk. I 100% agree with you. I hope you aren’t arrested and jailed for this post ohhh. Ahhh, wetin bi this. I hear say there is no freedom of speech in Naija and that Nigerian government officials, especially Ministers in The Department of Folding Deckchairs do not like to be criticised. Something needs to be done to those mirthless megalomaniacs. 9Ja has to be rescued from those hopelessly inept and incompetent vagabonds in power. I need to brush up my Chinese martial arts Kung Fu Husler skills...

Onyeka 11:14 pm  

i think it's a bit unfair to act like cheating in exams is a Nigerian phenomenon. It happens everywhere. No Minister of Education can stop a student from stretching his neck. What Nigeria DOES have a problem with is the bribery of lecturers. and that has gotten so ingrained in some schools I really don't know they would start to fix that.

Anonymous,  11:20 pm  

I think 30% is way too harsh. But yep, the rot has set in. And oh, the word you're looking for "dubbing", as in recording data, tapes etc - or are you just playing with the Nigerian accent?

Kpakpando 5:49 am  

Thank you Onyeka, cheating in school was fairly commonplace at my secondary & tertiary institutions in the U.S and I suspect many people would report the same in their respective countries of residence.

Loomnie 6:39 am  

I am wondering how come it took you so long to learn of these things!

Anonymous,  12:22 pm  

meanwhile, back in jand: a friend was telling me how their classmate from PGCE days is now teaching at eton. apparently (i can't confirm cos i've never been there) at eton they said there is a system by which at the start of each year the teachers get to pick the students they want to tutor for the next year. after they've picked the ones they want there's a reserve of thick but filthy-rich kids left on the shelf. the tradition is that the teachers' wives then make the decision based on who (or whose parents) bought the teacher the best present (gold cufflinks, golf clubs, etc).

Naijadude 2:28 pm  

The earlier the better!! And we are hoping for change in Nigeria??

Lost at The End 6:36 pm  

@ Onyeka,

"i think it's a bit unfair to act like cheating in exams is a Nigerian phenomenon."

This kind of rhetoric done tire me. Ah ah. The fight over the patrimony of social problems. So what if it's not a Nigerian phenomenon? Is it a matter of who owns the patent to the problem?

And what does it matter that "it happens everywhere?"

plastiQ 7:32 pm  

@ Lostat The End: Well written. I guess Onyeka just felt that thing we all feel as Nigerians: helpless about our situation but offering a mild denial by pointing fingers.

2:1? 1st class? A classmate that used to wash my lecturers car, get knocks on the head and generally get bullied GOT A FIRST CLASS FOR GOOD BEHAVIOUR (in CHARACTER and in LEARNING they call it)

Anonymous,  8:12 pm  

Jeremy, you have not even scratched the surface! As an educationist I cannot talk here but if we ever meet, do get ready for a long night. What is happening in the educational sector is a reflection of the society we live in. Teachers/students in nurseries, primary, secondary and universities have a twisted notion of ethics, values and professionalism. This has filtered through to all the other sectors based on the 'schooling' the students obtain while at school. In addition, their parents who have been through the system , then 'educate' them in only way they know how - how to beat the system by cheating, bribing and disregarding the rules. They then look at YOU as if you are the mad stupid one. We are in trouble BIG time.

AustynZOGS 12:04 am  

You did hit the nail on the head.Nigeria's corruption which emanates from the craddle stinks to the high heaven.
How do weput this monster to death?
I deeply appreciate your objectivity and patriotism

Anonymous,  2:15 pm  

"...despite its abundant resources, Nigeria is poorer today than it was at independence in 1960. Still one of the less developed and poorer countries of the world, it has the potential to become a major economic power if the leaders resolve to learn from past mistakes and to harness the country's rich natural and human resources for a productive and sustained effort to promote economic development..."

Taken from

What Jeremy has observed is nothing new. What is sad, is that it seems to have become the accepted mode of behaviour in schools/ universities etc.

This established behaviour is dragging down the education system. There was a time when education in Nigeria was highly regarded, not any longer.Those who have two pennies to rub together, quickly spirit their offspring to be educated overseas, be it Europe/ America for the well-heeled, or Ghana/ S Africa for the not so wealthy, anything but Nigeria!

If you were to question the parents, they would say they are doing it for the good of their childen. The teachers/ lecturers will say they don't get paid enough, so are amenable to bribery. Yet Nigerians are only too quick to complain voiciferously about corruption. My conclusion is that Nigerians are as addicted to corruption as an alcholic is to liquor, and similarly just as alchohol will destroy the alcoholic if left unchecked, so corruption will dissolve Nigeria.

"Nigeria needs a strong education minister at Federal and state levels". This is all well and good, but how do you get the right people into the right posts? The whole thing is so fraught and compromised, that is how inappropriate candidates occupy those positions with a view to further their own selfish causes, and care very little for the future of that country. (Only people with an established and proven track record should be considered). Truly effective people don't last long in their posts, look at the case of Okonjo-Iweala, Ribadu etc.

I think Nigeria is in need of a revolution, that is the only thing that could shake everyone out of the complacency that is overseeing the sinking of that country. Without a revolution (I'm not talking about a coup, so relax), the inertia is just too great, there are too many vested interests in maintaining the unsatisfactory status quo.

Anonymous @ 8.12, you describe the problem perfectly.

o opesan 2:51 pm  

Professional teachers in the private sector (where we are paid fairly well) and teachers of integrity in the public sector (who would remain professional in spite of pay and conditions of service) are what we need to cultivate the right attitude to exams, right from Year 1.

Anonymous,  5:39 pm  

@2:51, sorry mate, you've missed the point. Professionals that ARE paid fairly well still espouse those questionable values! Even teachers/professionals in the private/public sector. You cannot separate 'public/private sphere'. where do we get our values from? How do you hold your integrity when you are surrounded by rot? They will try to bring you down as they see you as a threat to their daily bread. You will then be excluded and labelled a 'trouble maker'. There needs to be a values re-orientation on a massive scale. That is the FIRST step.
Nice office by the way!

Irritated,  3:57 pm  

What about the more dangerous practice of giving teachers gifts/money to help out their kid in school with extra tutoring, monitor the child etc etc esp in boarding schools. My mother does it and doesnt seem to think its wrong, very exasperating. I'm mean in a country like ours, that tutoring could very mean access to questions similar to those on the test and thats in the good places. In the bad places they just give the test.

Frankly I find the whole practice disgusting, If your child needs all that extra monitoring or tutoring please consider a day school. If only my mother would listen

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