Boakai Calls for Academic Crimes Court to Deter Examination Malpractice

Monrovia – Former Vice President Joseph Boakai has frowned on academic malpractices in the educational sector of Liberia, saying “academic and examination malpractices are damaging our educational system, and if left unchecked, the credibility and value of our school certificates, diplomas, and degrees will become questionable”.

The former VP made the statement on Wednesday in Monrovia when he served as the keynote speaker for the Faith and Justice Network’s Educational Stakeholders Integrity Forum for School Administrators, Teachers, and Students,’ under the theme: “A Campaign to End Examination Malpractices and Promote Moral Integrity in Schools.

According to Amb. Boakai, academic malpractices, examination malpractices, and the lack of moral integrity can be found in almost all the schools within the education system of Liberia.

Stakeholders, such as school administrators, principals, teachers, and the government (vis-à-vis the Ministry of Education) are the main perpetrators of malpractices in the schools, both at the high school and tertiary levels,” he said.

He said ‘students are only the end product of such an assessment process; I dare say that they are not the only perpetrators of malpractices in any educational system’.

Academic malpractices range from teacher absenteeism to outdated curriculum; while examination malpractices range from students spying in class to leakage of examination questions or materials by persons who are authorized or unauthorized to conduct examinations; and lack of Moral integrity range from bribery to sex for grades,” VP Boakai said.

Calls For Academic Crimes Court

VP Boakai, however, has elevated the debate on the need for the establishment of an academic crimes court on malpractices of fake academic credentials.

He said that in recent times the educational sector has come under scrutiny and criticism for issues of integrity, especially as it relates to accreditation, courses offered and awarding of diplomas in areas of study. This situation that is unfolding has even validated the holding of this forum as it relates to integrity in institutions of learning.

The Educational Stakeholder’s Integrity Forum comes at the time when school administrators, the Ministry of education, and financiers of education are concerned about the growing crime of academic fraud in the nation’s educational system.

VP Boakai said engaging the stakeholders is crucial and fundamental to getting to the root causes of educational malpractices in the country’s school system, and most importantly, the crucial role of the government to make available those policies and programs by which the private and public sectors must adhere to.

It is also the responsibility of the government to ensure that incentives and opportunities are at the disposal of the stakeholders to ensure a fraud-free system, such as salaries and benefits for teachers and a healthy and conducive learning environment for students.

It will be in our national best interest to take appropriate actions to ensure that existing educational policy and plans will be examined and evaluated so that it is brought up to a standard that commensurate with the sub-region and international best practices.

Good leadership responsibility is to make sure that our education policy is reviewed periodically and amended if necessary, for sustainable growth and expansion of the sector to meet real challenges.

We also hold those who are responsible for the advancement of our education system, including officials at the Ministry of Education, school administrators, teachers, students, and other educational stakeholders such as parents. Future policy direction should ensure that appropriate actions will be taken timely and promptly against any individual who will perpetuate academic and examination malpractices at all levels of our educational system,” VP added.

For his part, Dr. Tolbert Thomas Jallah, Jr., Faith and Justice Network Regional Executive Director, said the forum with theme “A Campaign to End Examination Malpractices and Promote Moral Integrity in Schools” is the FJN first educational stakeholders forum which aimed to minimize corruption in all public and private schools in Liberia.

He said now a day practices of corruption in the educational sector is on the increase and a sustain mechanism is needed to settle this situation which has the propensity to grow corruption more and more in Liberia.

Now, it is common to hear school teachers and administrators demanding gifts, accepting bribes for grades, and inducing students to sex to pass exams. These practices have undermined students’ performance and quality of education,” he said.

Original Source: Front Page Africa

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