Examination malpractices all over the world can be disturbing phenomena. In Nigeria, this has been the bane/misery to our education system. A quick look into our national deities would reveal a catalogue of examination malpractices cases. But the implication of this cankerworm that has been eaten deep into our educational system is obvious.
For a very long time now, malpractices have grown to unmanageable if not epidemic proportion in Nigeria today. The phenomenal increase in the number, scope and complexity of reported cases of examination malpractice all over the country, from primary level to the higher institution is alarming and has for long put the nation educational future into cut-do-sac ethics and integrity have to be employed in order to bring sanity into the system before we reach a stagnant pool. No nation can prosper without proper education, hence the need to effectively harness this all-encompassing resources base. The examination which is vital in the control of education quality is now being abuse to such an alarming proportion that it is now losing its value.
Jega (2006) defined examination malpractice as any form of misbehaviour that leads to the alteration of or tampering with the prescribed ways of conducting the examination in any given system. He further said examination malpractice is a punishable offence which is committed during the process of normal and recognized examination. (Jegede in Jega, 2006) defined examination malpractice as any wrongdoing, misconduct, dishonesty or improper practices for personal gains or violation of set rules of conduct during the examination. Obo (2008) defined examination malpractice as any act of omission or commission which compromises the validity, reliability and integrity of any assessment or evaluation system. Joshua (2008) synthesized many definitions of examination malpractice by defining the concept as any unauthorized or unapproved action, inaction, activity, behaviour or practice that is associated with the preparation, conduct and processing of examination carried out by any person involved in preparing for, giving, taking and processing that examination at any level.
Examination malpractice is noted as a fraud within the school system, which occurs right from primary, secondary to the tertiary level of education in Nigeria. Examination malpractice is a corrupt practice within the educational system. This practice is thriving strongly in our system, thus making it a real monster, it is a real manner because the culture of hard work, academic excellence, honesty, decency is fast eroding the present generation of youth in different institutions of learning in Nigeria.
The causes of examination malpractice in Nigerian Universities
Many reasons have been adduced to be the cause of the prevalent cases of examination malpractice, Peter and Okon (2013) identify the causes to include:
- Fear of failure: Students engagement in examination malpractice can be traced back to failure. Self-confidence in this context is when a student believes and has faith that he will make it in the examination without cheating. Many students get involved in malpractice during the examination because they doubt that they cannot get an excellent result without having a “microchip” attached to their body. A good student has a good faith that he or she will be able to make it in any examination if they have studied for a long time in preparation for the examination.
- The desire of parents to have their children in choice professions and University: Most parents impose courses on their children without considering if the child can handle the course. They forget the fact that not every child has a fast brain to learn. Sometimes, parents do this because their friend’s children are doing those courses so they force the child to go for the course. When a child is forced to read a course he cannot, then he or she comes in with the habit of cheating because he does not want to do the course and for this reason, the student will not study because he will assume he will not understand anything.
- Ineffective preparation by student: Many students do not want to work hard through studying to their parents and sponsors proud. They think that making a good result is a bed of roses. This is why they want to pass their exams through cut-corners, thereby getting involved in examination malpractice. Most students devote most of their time to having fun with their fellow lazy students and neglect the basic thing, which is their study. They forget the reason why their parent sent them to school. They watch many kinds of films in a day without even having time to look into their books and acquire skills through their study. They attend parties, examination malpractice due to ineffective preparation only lead to downfall and disaster to those students that indulge in it.
The effects of examination malpractice on national development
- Examination malpractice kills the country’s academic reputation: It is a fact that at present, owing to the high rate of examination malpractice in Nigeria, most foreign countries no longer value academic certificate issued in Nigeria as they see them as being no more valuable than the pieces of paper on which they have printed. This poses a big set-back to Nigerian graduates when they go abroad.
- Examination malpractice kills the spirit of hard work as most students now depend on malpractice to achieve the same or even higher level of success than their counterparts who wasted their time studying: This ultimately leads to low productivity as people get a job in areas where they know little or nothing about, even with their excellent certificates.
- It leads to suspension or expulsion on the student which may lead to termination of the student’s academic career, and for the lecturer, it can as well lead to suspension or outright dismissal from the school.
The way out of examination malpractice in Nigeria.
- Prohibit the use of electronic devices including cell phone and IPAD.
- There should be a frequent unannounced visit by officials of examination or external supervisors and erring students should be punished.
- School lecturers should be motivated and remunerated adequately and learning environment made friendly so that they can do their work satisfactorily and cover the syllabus before the examination. d. Ensure that only the students that registered a particular course sit for the examination.
- The government should provide a conducive learning environment in schools by providing learning facilities and enhanced remuneration for teachers.
- Examination bodies and chief executives of educational institutions should plant secret cameras in halls to monitor examinees.
- Proper orientation on avoiding examination malpractice and the consequences of all new students in all institution at their resumptions.
- National campaign on the values of honesty and integrity may help in combating leakage and other irregularities.