I am very disturbed by this, and will share my concern. Let me say at the outset that I am not a racist. I have a long record of supporting ‘freedom struggles’ in such countries as Zimbabwe and South Africa (all praise to Comrade Joe Slovo!), and it is with sadness that I must pass on a report of nurses in Ghana paying to pass their exams:
‘Kindly permit me an advantageous space within your medium to expose this corrupt practice within the Nurses’ and Midwives’ Council of Ghana (NMC). To enlighten Ghanaians briefly the NMC is responsible for organising examinations and awarding license to nurses and midwives after passing an examination, that is the ”Licensure Examination”. The hideous story is after the exams some members within the examination council who tag themselves as ‘the engine room’ collect amount of at least Ghc. 500 secretely from candidates who anticipate they might fail the exams and turn their results for them. Somebody might ask how? That is after the examiners have finished marking the exams, they foward the list of successful candidates to be dispatched to their various schools. It is at this point where the ‘engine room’ people change the names and at last unsuccessful candidates get the license. This practice has been in existence for years but was at its peak last year when the D10’s wrote their exams’ (EA Appiah, modernghana.com, 3 October 2011).
A Comment was: ‘I know some nursing students who paid Ghc 1,000 for their “PASS”. I wish I coUld mention their names here for the whole to know they paid for their “PASS”. They make initial payment of Ghc 700 and when the results come in and they have passed, they pay the remaining Ghc 300’.
And where might such ‘graduates’ seek work? Perhaps the UK? Ghana’s government has scrapped a controversial ban on newly qualified nurses travelling to find more lucrative employment abroad … According to the UK’s National Health Service, a newly qualified nurse starts on a salary of more than £21,000 a year – with opportunities to earn overtime – that is, at least $2,695 a month. A professional nurse in Ghana earns about $400 a month after tax – and nurses often face the frustration of delays in the payment of their salaries (bbc.co.uk, February 27, 2015).
The availability of genuine certificates obtained fraudently is as widespread as the poverty which drives it. An article in arabtimesonline.com (May 3, 2015) highlights this problem: ‘Television footage last month showed dozens of relatives scaling school walls to try to give information to students in northern Bihar, one of India’s poorest states. Staff and police officers were seen ignoring relatives who passed cheat sheets through the windows of exam rooms.
With the system stacked against them, many poor families feel compelled to do whatever they can to help their child get a foothold in a better life. This — along with India’s all-pervasive culture of corruption — have been largely blamed for the cheating. Rakesh Kumar, who left school in 2008, makes no apologies for his efforts, including smuggling notes into the exam, hidden under his watch and in his socks. “There weren’t many teachers or chairs, sometimes no electricity. I lost interest slowly, so I didn’t study,” Kumar, from Bihar, told AFP. “Sometimes the invigilators wouldn’t care much, they turned a blind eye … that helped.
For better-off students, cameras hidden in buttons, ties, pens and bras accompanied by Bluetooth technology are available online and in shops tucked away in the backstreets of Delhi’s old quarter. “Sometimes kids come by to check out the items,” shopkeeper Rocky Binwal said, adding that his policy is “not to ask” questions.
I have only mentioned two countries in which the possession of a genuine certificate does not guarantee that it has been earned. Many more could be added.
Does anyone realistically think that nursing is immune from such practices? it is certainly not immune from fake certificates, as I have repeatedly pointed out.
Does anyone really care, though? The UK NMC employ 8 out of its approximate 660 staff to check certificates.
What do the other 652 do?
If someone says they are a nurse, and does even a barely passable imitation of one, are they readily accepted, especially if their price is right?