18 September 2017

Uganda: Makerere Is Right to Go After Examination Cheats


Makerere University used to be known for its strictness and non-compromising approach towards irregular admissions, examination cheating or falsification of marks and results.

At one point in this era, a minister responsible for education was discontinued by the university after his admission was deemed irregular, his place in government, let alone the education sector, notwithstanding.

Around the same time, a powerful academic registrar lost his job after he was accused of admitting a student irregularly. The university simply had no room for misconduct.

However, with time, Makerere University appeared to drop the ball. Reports of forged transcripts, manipulation of marks and sex for marks became more frequent. With this, its credibility took a downward spiral.

Now, thankfully, the university has woken up to its duty to cleanse itself. An ad hoc committee on examinations, irregularities and malpractice is hearing from at least 100 students who got their names onto the 2016 graduation list after falsifying their results with the help of unscrupulous staff.

Another 380 students had their names removed from this year's graduate list after it was established that their marks had been forged.

As a result of these uncomfortable findings, the university is reportedly reviewing all examination results going back at least six years. Dozens of staff and hundreds of students face criminal charges if found culpable.

Makerere University should have gotten this tough way back, but better late than never. It's very unfair that some students work hard and earn their grades while others buy the grades they didn't work for.

This unfairness extends to the job market where fake papers are relied on to get some people jobs at the expense of candidates with genuine qualifications. This must stop.

To clamp down on this evil, Makerere University must make it very costly for its students or staff to engage in examination malpractice at all levels.

Once students and staff get to realise that chances of getting caught are quite high and the punishment is prosecution and withdrawal of whatever academic papers that will have been obtained illegitimately, this dirty practice will stop or at least reduce substantially.


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