‘I hate you so much! You are an evil person! I hate you!’
I was add at the receiving end of this vitriolic declaration from a female student yesterday. It wasn’t because I jilted her or failed her or previously abused her. It was simply because I did not allow her to cheat during an exam. She walked up to me after the exam to make her statement because she, and others in the class, wanted to cheat and to the best of my abilities I tried to stop them. Thankfully her spite resulted in a mere shake of the head and the remark ‘one day you will understand what I am doing.’ Her statement got me wondering on my way home: can it be that the Nigerian University student has lowered his standards so low as to regard cheating as a good to be pursued and the invigilator, insofar as he tries to place obstacles, worthy of hate?
I’ve acquired a reputation in my short eight months as a graduate assistant as an ‘evil hateful invigilator’. Few days back I walked into the exam hall of the 200 level students and could hear the groans from most of the class (‘this man has come again!’). One has to be a true rebel to stand one’s ground to a practice that has become the norm in examination halls all around the country: cheating.
Being a rebel is not easy though and it is easy to avoid responsibility or just switch off. On Tuesday I invigilated an exam were the regular students and the carry-overs were put in separate classes. Some of these carry-overs were my (former) classmates and expected sympathy from me. To avoid difficulties I asked the leader of the exam to put me with the regular students and let some other invigilator handle the carry-overs. ‘They will respect you! You are a lecturer! Don’t be afraid of them!’ was his stout reply. I admit that I was afraid; afraid of being seen as wicked and evil and proud. Now those very words have been thrown in my face.
I will still be a rebel. Holding on to the fact that cheating is wrong and below our dignity as humans; that a culture of cheating will kill us individually and as a society and a nation. Individually we know the regret we feel for successes ill won and we know what similar forms of cheating has made our leadership into. There is laudable movement of young rebels who are against the culture of cheating at the ballot box. We must not forget that which goes on in our examination halls.