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(By Gabriel Dike – LAGOS)
In its bid to stem examination malpractice among its students, the senate body of the Lagos State University (LASU) has reviewed sanctions meted out to offenders.
The senate at it sitting last year approved tougher sanctions on students caught engaging in examination misconduct, with implementation starting with the 2016/2017 academic session.
The new penalty system was the brain child of acting Dean, Students Affairs Division.
But the action has attracted condemnation from some students.
An internal memo titled:‘’Approval of the proposal on the graduation of offences committed during the university examinations’’ dated September 30, signed by Mrs. T.N. Ogunshote was addressed to the dean, students affairs and copied the Vice chancellor, deputy VC, Registrar, heads of departments, faculty officers, secretaries to LASUCOM, LASUSOC and LASUSOT.
According to the memo, the senate noted that the sanctions have been increased based on the severity of offences, stressing that after extensive deliberation, senate reviewed specific recommended sanctions and amended as appropriate.”
The new measures has five new changes and 12 old ones were maintained by the university.
Amongst the five new measures with stiffer sanctions is that, henceforth, any student entering the examination hall with prepared answer scripts would be expelled. The sanction was previously rustication for two semesters.
Other sanctions target students found in the exam hall with jottings relevant to the course, who would now be rusticated for one semester. The use of cell phones to answer/solve questions would lead to rustication for two semesters.
Other new changes are rustication for two semesters for destruction of evidence when caught, an offence that previously attracting only a serious reprimand in writing and discussion. Consultations, giving information or assistance/soliciting during an exam would result in the student being completely failed if found guilty, rather than a deduction of 20 marks from exam scores as well as a written reprimand.
The university maintained stiffer sanctions for impersonations, smuggling question papers out of exam halls and returning with answer scripts. These will now result in rustication.
Other exam offences whose sanctions were not reviewed include physical attacks or assault on invigilators/fellow students, writing relevant materials on palms or any part of the body, exchange of sheets, copying other students or exchange of question papers in the exam hall, failure to submit answer scripts at the end of exam, rudeness, insubordination, disobedience and disorderly behaviour within the exam hall, refusal to submit for search by an invigilator of same sex, being in possession of answer scripts without being authorized, and failure and refusal to fill the exam misconduct form when apprehended. The latter will result in one or two semester rustication.
Some students, who did not want to be identified, described the new laws as draconian and unnecessary, arguing that the old sanctions worked, while stating that the university is out to punish students unnecessarily.