The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi (KNUST) has dismissed nine (9) of its students since March 19, 2004. Their crime was violating the university's entry requirements regulations by submitting forged results slips for their admission.
Unfortunately, the University did not take statements from them on their background, their homes and parentage; their former schools and the brains behind the forgeries, which have in no small way embarrassed the university authorities, and the students themselves. Indeed, cheating through the admission processes with forged results is becoming common these days.
Again, the university only asked them to go home, free, without preferring some criminal charges against them. The order of dismissal as carried to us by the Daily Graphic issue of 8th April, 2004, did not mention any ban on them in respect of a possible re-entry should they at any future date succeed in obtaining the necessary genuine results.
It is high time such crimes were punished by the Law. The necessary enactment should be forthcoming to save us the cunningness in forging examination results, and the pain in getting caught, and be dismissed in the long run. We need such Laws for our own safety, and for the safety of excellence we enter the universities to pursue.
The universities are the places to go to pursue academics for knowledge and for the discipline of the mind. Admission into any one of them is based on disciplined regulations to realise disciplined results.
Fake and forged examination results do not apply here, at all.
But petty pilfering and cheating appear to be surely becoming part of school life these days. The kids at Senior Secondary School Level know it as "apo". They manage to obtain examination questions for their final examinations and settle down to commit the necessary answers to memory, and get them poured out (apo) on the answer sheets. As a result, they obtain the necessary high aggregate scores the Universities desire for admission purposes.
And down the ladder at Junior Secondary School level, leakage of examination questions is common. School proprietors have been found to be willful recipients with equally willful collaboration with parents and printers of the Examination questions. It has been a great bother to our disciplined selves where we tend to be unduly clever and help our children cheat due regulations in order to reach the top.
And when the exam questions fail to come up, forged results slips would do for forged entry into our universities, Training Colleges and Nursing Training Schools. Recently here in Kumasi, most of the trainee nurses in the Nursing School at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) had to abandon the school in order to escape arrest. Among them were First and Second Year Students who sort of paid their way to the school.
When the Committee set up the Ministry of Health comes out with its findings, we shall know the true story of our petty crimes of forgery of Results Slips. But the authorities of Tertiary Institutions must be on the alert for the negative effects of the up and coming Information Technology (IT) of our time is likely to have on us.
Yes, we should expect that forged results slips would come by forged pictures, and forged certificates and related forgery appendages that surely may make the false appear true. In the long run, the excellence we pursue at the universities would be reduced to ugliness. Our morals would suffer, and our earnings too.
The existing entry requirements into our universities should remain guarded by our university authorities. The requirements may be added to, or be varied from time to time in accordance with our needs in promoting learning in our universities.
Indeed, such has been the trend over the years.
There had been "direct entry" requirements into our Universities straight from Form 5 without the 6th Form 'A' Level passes. That was exclusively for Science Students to study Science based subjects for national development. This is no longer relevant.
Again, there was "direct admission" for preliminary courses where the universities could admit such students for degree courses subsequently. Those who failed to make the grade were persuaded to withdraw, and perhaps come again at another time. The only direct entry that now exists is the mature students admission facility.
Recently, our universities have hatched another admission facility exclusively for deprived Senior Secondary Schools in the country. Products of such schools could be admitted, on lower aggregate scores, comparatively. This is done however on the discretion of our University authorities. It is commendable.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology was the first to have announced that rare facility. And reports from the Vice-Chancellor's office indicate that the students are doing well, and that the arithmetic of their successes is comparable to those of the "regular" students at the university.
Our universities are growing fast. Their reputation in the world of learning is high. They will not spare the thieves who intrude their campuses with forged documents.
We are saying that our Universities' entry requirements had been developed in accordance with our genuine needs, and not by the needs of the thieves.
We have not reached the situation yet where anybody at all with any "requisite" learning qualifications at all can enter and please himself with his chosen discipline of study.
In some Universities (not of the country of course), passes in English and Mathematics are not a requirement. But we need them to ensure that the language of instruction in our Universities, which is English, is within reasonable grasp of students in need of University education. The problem of spoken and written English is still with us.
It is even said that the University authorities of KNUST are going to make English Literature (and perhaps English Language) a compulsory subject for all its students. The understanding has been that the study of any language is enhanced by the learning of its literature, which should include its philosophy, history and culture. English as a requirement for admission purposes is not for nothing.
And so is Mathematics which is quite a complex subject, and quite abstract too. It is needed for the conditioning of the mind and its preparation to meet greater disciplined learning at the University level. Some pass in Mathematics should convince the university authorities of the candidate's ability to benefit from university education, which cannot be taken for granted.
Therefore one has to have the 'academic' brain to pursue academics in our universities. It is part of our belief in the learning culture in our universities.
It is particular. It cannot be anything. Its purpose is to make us wholesome and fit us for virtuous conduct in our complex world where knowledge continues to rule.
But in the foreseeable future, entry requirements might mellow. That would be when we have sufficiently acquitted our Universities as disciplined institutions for disciplined learning. And where there is discipline, the thief still cannot come close to it. But if he dares to enter by stealth of forgery, KNUST will be the first to flush him out.
Indeed, as we have been saying, when we are sufficiently disciplined, it could happen that the Certificate 'A' Teacher could be admitted to do Pharmacy for example. The BSc Agriculture graduate could come back to read Medical Sciences. The student of Classics would turn, to pursue Aeronautic Engineering, while the Mechanic could qualify to read law.
The rather smooth and graded development of the curricula of our universities, and the evolving diverse university administration, at least, as hinted to us the other day by the vice-Chancellor of KNUST should lead us, surely, to that stage.
And we must learn to wait for admission no matter the number of times it would take us to make the grade for admission. It took one of the greatest Scholars of our time (so we hear) "seven world wars" to be able to conquer his Matriculation Examinations. He was a private student any way, who studied on his own outside the formal classroom, and the afternoon classes system.
Well, when he finally reached the university of his choice, he took the Tripod (Philosophy, Political Science and Economics) with distinction.
He topped it up with a Law Degree, and sealed it all with a Doctoral Thesis on the subject matter of "Moral means To Moral Ends..." He was Dr. J.B. Danquah, the many "sided" Scholar of his time.
It is morally expected of us to be moral at all times. Indeed, it has been moral of KNUST authorities to have given the marching orders to the nine (9) offending students. We all have expected that action in our University City where academics and moral excellence are cultured.
But it seems to some of us that it has taken the university a little too long to detect the forged results slips of the nine (9) students in question. The caveat here should be that things done electronically should electronically be challenged to frustrate the willful thieves of our discussion.
If the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) is computerising the results of the Examinations it conducts to enable Students to source their results by the same computer means, our universities should be able to have the facility extended to them to enable them cross-check the genuiness of results slips presented to them for admission. The two bodies should work hand in hand to put the thief at bay in no time.
Well, the incidence of forged results for admission should not be allowed to happen again. It takes great courage to do the forgery.
It takes equally greater courage to detect it and take action accordingly. We doff our hats to the university on that score, while we bid the nine students good bye, for now.