By Deng Akoldit Ajuong
There is this name coming up. This name is secretly used for leaks of exams. It is the name used by students or teachers in our present day. “Do you have machot”? It basically refers to the unauthorized release of examination papers before the scheduled exam date, providing unfair advantages to certain individuals. This issue primarily affects high-stakes examinations, such as school exams. The unethical practice of writing exam papers has severe consequences that undermine the integrity of examinations and the future of countless students. This article will explore the cause of exam leaks and preventive measures.
The South Sudan National Examination Council is an authorized body that runs exams for the primary eight and senior fours. A few years ago, the education system was running with high percentages and experiences of malpractice in some schools, which I am not going to mention for particular reasons. I wonder why, around the world, nobody scores mathematics at 100%. Now, believe me, there are more students in South Sudan who are scoring tough subjects with 100%. You can see now how you embarrassed your certificates. Even advanced countries do not score 90% in mathematics, let alone the under-tree schools with unprofessional teachers. The consequences of exam paper leaks are far-reaching, affecting the credibility of the education system and the future of students.
Yes, South Sudan has intelligent students who can do their best when focusing on their studies. Be reminded that not everyone has the intelligence to pass exams with flying colors. Across South Sudan, we need to treat our students with tough laws. We should treat our students to tough laws exams, not condone them. Helping donkeys on a hot day to drink in the rivers is unhealthy. The donkey has not eaten anything since morning, and the water may not go well. As the animal may experience severe suffering, it may be difficult to walk it out of the water.
Our country will suffer. Okay, you want your school to be on the top ten list, and you are supposed to assume that you want your school to be well-informed and knowledgeable, not have forceful knowledge. What the teacher can do is teach as much as he can. But what I am seeing in South Sudan is that teachers are taking donkeys to the rivers and forcing them to drink. The teachers are supposed to take the students to nearby rivers to drink, but they shouldn’t force them to drink. Students who do not attend the classes, students who do not perform very well, you can give him or her all the tools, but you don’t force him or her to pass. Marks are scores for hard work. A teacher is not there to give a grade that a student didn’t work on.
You know our education system is going down, and I trust the current government and the entire leadership at the National Ministry of Education will improve the education system by implementing tough laws for the students and the teachers who do not want to teach the students and wait for Machot Day. The Examinations Council should continue with tough laws, and any malpractice must be treated with a cut-off from the service. Tough laws may be applied. The road to rivers may be close, and nobody will lead the donkey to the river.
Now hearing the timetable out, you see many schools operating at night and heavy funding raising to make sure that the machot day may come well. The education authority by now should give serious consideration to individuals who want to take advantage of scams on students with heavy financial flows. Believe me, my dear teachers and students, the time for malpractice has passed. It is time to study and work hard. I predict with confidence that this government is now coming to the standard of no more malpractice. If anyone stands outside there to take money in the name of Machot Day, please know that Machot is no longer in South Sudan. You will end up not drinking fresh water. I am sure nobody is interested in taking the donkey anymore; the donkey should go by itself.
You can see that in public universities, the average time to be admitted is going up. Sincerely speaking, those averages do not represent any knowledge learned during classroom periods. Now our lecturers are going back to level one. You explain the lectures to the students at the university, and seemingly, the words and topic never exist because of the background in which they come from. I suggest that the Higher Education Authority could introduce entrance examinations because the percentage is misleading us about bushes where we may find any dangerous wild animals and fight them. The students who couldn’t make it may go back to secondary school or vocational training for skills.
Some of our students, by luck, go outside to study. One thing I have learned from my friend outside is that the university or institution may ask, how do you score 100% in mathematics and English, while English or mathematics is not the first mother language? There are quite a few challenges to be faced outside, and the high percentages may lead to suspicion, and late on, the institutions may set exams for entrance. The marking scheme system and guides must guide us home, not guide us to bushes. Please try to reduce the marks to 99 if students’ scores are 100 percent. Check the spelling and the grammatical errors to deduct one mark. This would lead us to the right education.
In our present day, there are two common types of exams.
First, an external leak. This happens when the question papers are accessed by teachers, students, and outside schools before the examinations. This leak has the common name “Machot Day”. I term it the teachers exploiting vulnerable students through cheating on confidential papers.
The second type of exam leak is the question we ask ourselves. How did exams get out of the examination institutions? Apparently, the leaks involve unfaith individuals within the educational institution responsible for conducting the examinations, such as teachers, administrative staff, or even students or pupils. This group, in other words, may intentionally or unintentionally leak confidential exam papers, forgetting the future harm to the country.
Causes of exam leaks
The first cause of exam leaks is advanced technology. Believe me, WhatsApp and emails can transmit the exams very quickly to the receivers. In an actual sense, the technology has brought two sides. There are advantages and disadvantages to the education system. We know that advanced technology has improved the accessibility of learning through the typing of exams and learning aids. We know advanced technology has opened a new door for paper leaks. Throughout our present days, hackers have grown in information technology digital storage, using from time to time online platforms to gain unauthorized access to confidential examination papers.
Secondly, the insider threats the acceptance of those outside, such as teachers, students, and the business community, may be overlooked in other ways. We know any pressure coming from outside for personal gain can tempt insiders to leak confidential exam papers.
Thirdly, there is a loss of honesty and integrity. Community members and academicians at public universities may lose faith in the fairness and assessments that value academic progress.
Fourthly, a leaky exam may advantage some students who gain an unfair score of 100% over the students or pupils who have prepared diligently for exams. This means that the ground of play is unlevel. We shouldn’t compromise the future and present by making unfair examinations.
Fifthly, we know for sure that any leaks in exams can lead to a decline in the country’s educational standards. From our experiences, we can understand the minds of the students. When the exams are leaky, the students focus on the chicken method of drinking water: one dropdown and the other gets in. This is how chickens take water. The students focus on memorization rather than a deep understanding of the topics. Truly, the standard may go down, and the academic standard will drop.
Preventive measures against exam leaks
First, we should strengthen the security measures. The department of examinations that is working in the country may make sure the safeguarding process of examinations is followed closely. The examination officials should secure storage facilities, restrict access, and strictly monitor the printing and distribution of examinations.
Secondly, technological safeguards can help protect confidential exam papers. The experts in IT may create encrypted communication platforms that lower the risk of leakage. There should be regular updates to the system.
Thirdly, we should encourage our teachers, staff, and administrators to go through ethical training and guidelines. Educators should undergo ethics and professional conduct training every year, just a few days before the examinations take place. This will reinforce the importance of confidentiality and instill a strong sense of being an intellectual in the country.
Fourthly, we should strictly take measures against individuals. Implementation of the country’s law Consequences of closing schools down, arresting criminals, and making penalties for beneficiaries of leaked papers Throughout time, the ministry should keep raising awareness to avoid leaks of exam papers. Raising awareness through campaigns, radios, and workshops may help students and teachers maintain the integrity of examinations.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0925966085.