Cultists in tertiary schools are now to have their results cancelled upon detection, or even have their degree certificates withdrawn if found out after graduation.
A new policy guideline on the war against campus cultism emerging from consolidated strategies of the National Council on Education (NCE), would make state education planners account for incidents of examination malpractices.
The latest drastic measures on campus cultism and examination fraud form parts of Education Minister, Prof. Fabian Osuji’s novel Strategic National Education Plan (SNEP).
Documents made available by the minister’s Chief Press Secretary Mr. Okon E. Bassey and emanating from the recent NCE plenary in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, show that the newest measures form the planks for a new regime in the education sector.
The NCE is the top policy-making organ of the education sector, grouping together the minister, state education commissioners, permanent secretaries in the federal/state ministries of education, heads of education parastatals and the topmost technocrats in the sector.
Consolidated final reports of the latest NCE meeting where Prof. Osuji set the parameters for SNEP devote parts 5(1), (2) and (3), to the twin evils of cultism and exam scams, among others.
Henceforth, “commissioners for education, their permanent secretaries, directors of education and heads of institutions are to be held accountable for any cases of examination malpractices reported in the states.”
However, the decisions of the Council are harsher regarding cult members.
“Council approves the enactment of legislation to prosecute cult sponsors and illegal arms possessors on campus; withdrawal of results and certificates of known cult members even if they had graduated, (and) enforcing academic regulations whereby “over-stay’ students would be flushed out of the system.”
While setting the tone for discussions leading to adoption of the new measures, the minister had lamented what he termed “the destabilising menace of cultism and exam malpractices – a cancer that has spread so rapidly in our education system in recent years which if not arrested quickly, will likely destroy the entire society.”
By the new rules also, any schools where exam malpractices are detected henceforth, would be de-recognised and denied the privilege of presenting candidates for any public exams, for a period of three years after re-accreditation.
According to the minister’s office, the foregoing and others are issues in the amended National Policy on Education being implemented through the SNEP.
Meanwhile, National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) has blamed resurgence of secret cult activities in tertiary institutions on politicians, who made use of students, as political thugs, during last general election in the country.
According to the group, armed students who have been exposed to violence, returned to school with arms only to continue with the violence they had been exposed to during last elections.
South East and coordinator of NAPS, Comrade Esiaga Oersted said in a press statement in Enugu, that they are out to redeem image of tertiary institutions in the country by intensifying anti-cult campaigns.
NAPS, which holds a four-day campaign at the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) on November 21, through November 24, called on all stakeholders in education, to join in the crusade to eradicate cultism.
It also called on authorities of tertiary institutions in the country, to set up special anti-cult committees, in their various schools to curb activities of cults.
According to NAPS, such committees would be competent enough to give cultists a fight and dislodge them from the public schools.
The association said the aim of its campaigns is to educate youths on the dangers of cultism, drug abuse, sexual harassment and sale of handouts on the nations tertiary institutions.
The association also appealed to individuals and organisations to rescue technological education in the country, by donating equipment, workshops, laboratory, classrooms and hostel accommodations.
It said that through most of the institutions were owned by the government, the society in general, benefit from the products of the institutions and should therefore assist government to create environments, conducive for teaching, learning and research.
Decrying increasing cost of higher education in the country, NAPS condemned the over 600 per cent hike in the prices of Higher National Diploma (HND) forms at Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Uwana, making it to now sell at N3,000 up from N500.
The group also described as atrocious, increase in fees payable at the school, which rose from N7,000 to N20,000.
Protesting such increases, at other Polytechnics, NAPS demanded for “the immediate cut-down of fees payable at IMT Enugu, Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic Uwana, Federal Polytechnic Oko,” even as it warned Governing Council and the Management of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, to stop from its intended 200 per cent increase in fees payable at the school or face dire consequences.