Examination malpractice in Nigeria: Examination malpractice has eaten deep into the education system of Nigeria to the extent that it can no longer be totally defeated. Many scholars have corroborated the fact that examination malpractice cannot be easily eliminated in Nigeria any longer because a considerable number of students and parents in the country accepts it. It will also surprise you to know that 75% of students who take WAEC and JAMB examination in special centers around the country, where examination malpractice is prevalent, were advised by their parents to go there.
These days, school principals, teachers and even external examination supervisors help candidates to pass their examinations through examination malpractice just for them to get paid. Frankly speaking, education in Nigeria is really in a chronic state. Many scholars are of the view that there is actually no hard and fast rule for whipping off examination malpractice from the examination system of Nigeria.
In this article, i will be analyzing and discussing examination malpractice in Nigeria. Particularly, i will be looking at the forms of examination malpractice in Nigeria, the causes of examination malpractice in Nigeria, effects and solutions to the problem of examination malpractice in Nigeria.
On this note, if you have been searching the internet for an article that clearly explains examination malpractice in Nigeria, this is the article you have been looking for. Trust me; you will not regret reading this work.
Meanwhile, it is pertinent to note that the information provided in this article applies to all levels of education in Nigeria. So, the solutions highlighted here will be applicable for both primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Without wasting any more time, lets quickly look at the definition of examination malpractice and its different forms.
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Table of Content
What is examination malpractice?
To understand the meaning of examination malpractice, it is important to take each word one after the other. First, an “examination” is a formal test of a person’s knowledge or proficiency in a subject or skill. In Nigeria, the test is usually conducted before a student will be allowed to graduate to a higher level of education.
According to Oxford learned dictionary, malpractice is an improper, illegal, or negligent professional behaviour. In law, malpractice has a different meaning (though not totally different). It means, negligence or lack of competence in the act of a professional in any field.
From the definitions given above, examination malpractice can simply be defined as an improper or illegal conduct by a candidate of an examination with the intention of passing the examination. Most times parents are to be blamed when students engage in examination malpractice because, they are responsible for the moral life of their children.
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It has also been stated by many scholars that to ensure a drastic decrease in the rate of examination malpractice in Nigeria, the role of parents is very important. In other words, parents can actually contribute to an increase or decrease in the rate of examination malpractice in Nigeria. This assertions will be explained later in this article. Meanwhile, lets quickly look at the forms of examination malpractice in Nigeria.
Kindly watch the video below for a more elaborate explanation of the problem of examination malpractice in the Nigerian education sector.
Forms of examination malpractice
Below are the different forms of examination malpractice in Nigeria:
1. Impersonation: This is one of the well known forms of examination malpractice in Nigeria. Impersonation is simply the act of pretending to be another person for the purpose of helping that person write an examination. This form of examination malpractice is very rampant in Nigeria. In fact, in Nigerian universities today, students who fail their courses don’t usually rewrite those courses themselves. They will rather pay someone to impersonate them and write the course for them.
The reason why this form of examination malpractice is rampant in Nigeria is because, the country has not attained the kind of technological advancement that is needed to avoid any type of impersonation. Take for instance, before WAEC examination is taken in Nigeria, there usually no scrutinizing of students before the examination starts. Thus, many engage in examination malpractice through Impersonation just to pass the examination.
Over the last two years, about 2000 candidates have been punished for impersonation during WAEC examination. This is to tell you the severity of this form of examination malpractice. It is indeed the most rampant form of examination malpractice in Nigeria today.
2. Smuggling of extraneous materials: Another form of examination malpractice in Nigeria that is used by almost every bad student is the bringing of extraneous materials into examination hall. Nowadays, students who cannot pay the money required for impersonation, usually come into the examination hall with extraneous materials to aid themselves in the examination. This could be by bringing notebooks, papers, mobile phones or laptops into the examination hall to source for information.
General speaking, bringing extraneous materials into examination hall is prohibited in most of the examinations conducted in Nigeria. But even at that, many student still engage in this form of examination malpractice, not minding what will be the punishment or outcome of their actions.
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3. External assistance: This form of examination malpractice is normal in examinations like JAMB UTME, WAEC and NECO. In this form of examination malpractice, it is actually the exam officers that come rescue students who did not prepare for the examination in return for some money. Sometimes, the exam officers can also threaten students to pay some money so that they can be helped or else, they will fail. In this case, both students who prepare very well for the examination and those who did not must engage in examination malpractice since that is the only way they can pass the examination.
This form of examination malpractice is rampant in Nigeria again. The reason is because, examination bodies like the West African Examination Council (WAEC), Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and even the National Examination Council (NECO) has made efforts to see that examination officers cannot ask students for money in other to pass the examination.
4. Copying during examination: This is a general form of examination malpractice. It is seen in both primary, secondary and tertiary education level in Nigeria.
Students in Nigeria who did not prepare very well for their examination end up coping from their classmates or friends just to pass the examination. In Nigeria, the act of coping during examination is known to be done by smart students because it is only a smart student that can copy from his classmates without being caught by their teacher/lecturer.
5. Collusion: Last on the forms of examination malpractice in Nigeria is collusion. This form of examination is always used during written examinations like WAEC and NECO. In this case, students share information passed (in paper) to them by their teachers to pass external examinations.
The answers that are shared among the students are usually the answers to the exact questions in the examination they are talking.
Many a time, this form of examination malpractice does not work because, students tend to share one particular answer. Thus, it will be very easy for the examination body to find out that there was actually examination malpractice in the examination center.
It is pertinent to note that almost all the examination bodies in Nigeria are already aware of the different forms of examination malpractice in the country. Frankly speaking, WAEC, NECO, JAMB and even POST UTME examination are very strict nowadays. In fact, it is very difficult if not impossible to engage in examination malpractice using any of the forms above. Thus, i enjoin every Nigerian student who is going through this article, to stop planning of engaging in examination malpractice in Nigeria because, those plans will definitely fail.
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Causes of examination malpractice in Nigeria
Below are the causes of examination malpractice in Nigeria:
- Failure of our education system
- Poor parental upbringing:
- Undue emphasis on Certificate
- Environmental factor
- Failure to prepare for examination
- Over population in schools
1. Failure of our education system: First and foremost, I must highlight the fact that the reason why many students cheat during examination is because of the failed education system of the country. In Nigeria today, many students have come to understand that they are wasting their time studying because it’s not going to pay off at the end of the day.
Think about it, after graduating from the university, many students end up in places where they are paid just N20,000 to N50,000 monthly which it totally unfair in some situations. On the other hand, the winner of the well known BBNaija show in Nigeria is paid over 90 million for just winning a competition that adds nothing to the society in the long run.
After considering all of this, a lot of Nigerian students are discouraged to continue putting in all their efforts in education because they believe it won’t pay off. The stress and pain they go through will surely end in sorrow so they prefer not paying to much attention to their studies.
In my school (The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN), I know of many students who have this mindset I have explained above today and I don’t really blame them because the country is not really encouraging education in any way.
That is why many Nigerian students now are engaged in a lot of online scam. Some pay more attention to making money through bitcoin and other businesses than their education. This is a very big problem and it is one of the major causes of malpractice in the education sector.
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2. Poor parental upbringing: This is undoubtedly one of the most contributing causes of examination malpractice in Nigeria. As it is rightly said, charity begins at home. Anything a person displays in the public is what he was taught at home. If a child uses any of the forms of examination malpractice just to pass an examination, it is apparent that his actions is as a result of the kind of morals built in him/her as a child. This is why Poor parental upbringing is seen as one of the causes of examination malpractice in Nigeria today.
To further examine this point, i will tell you a story of a friend of mine who failed her first WAEC examination because of his parental upbringing. He took his first WAEC examination in 2017 but his results were withheld. The reason was because he depended so much on examination malpractice and WAEC found out. Before the examination, his parents told him not to worry about passing WAEC examination because they will make sure he had the best WAEC grades ever. That year, he didn’t read for the examination. In fact, was so happy because he thought he would pass without going through the stress other students were going through.
Unfortunately, when the result came out, WAEC withheld the result of all the students who took examination in the miracle center were he wrote the examination and never released it. That was how my beloved friend failed his first WAEC examination. The next year, he had to read very hard and his hard work actually paid off at last.
3. Undue emphasis on Certificate: The emphasis placed on school certification in Nigeria is becoming alarming. You will agree with me that many Nigerian students no longer care about learning in school any longer. What matters most to them is to make the best grades in all their subjects/courses.
I have noted in many of my articles that while it is important to remind students that making good grades is very important, teachers and Lecturers must ensure to tell them that making good grades is not the reason why they came to school. The goal is to learn in school and secondly, to make good grades.
They way teachers and parents lay emphasis on making good grades from school has actually caused many students to engage in examination malpractice just to make sure that they reach up to the required marks. For example, I know of a guy in my class who only cares about making good grades in school. He will never share his ideas with anybody because he wants to be the best in the class. Sometimes, he goes to the extent of paying teachers so that they will supply examination questions to him even before the examination.
In this case, it is not really this parents that caused him to engage in examination malpractice. It is the high level of emphasis placed on making good grades before graduating that caused him to engage in examination malpractice.
4. Environmental factor: Believe it or not, environment matters too. The place a child grew up will also affect the way he see examination malpractice. I am saying this because I am one of the persons whose view of examination was affected by the environment.
In 2017 when I took my first external examination by the West African Examination Council (WAEC), i couldn’t resist the urge to register for examination in a miracle center because almost all my friends and age mates in my community register in a miracle center.
The only reason why I ended up not taking my WAEC examination in a miracle center was because my parents forced my not to. They were bent on making sure that I prepare and pass the examination all by myself. Eventually, I passed the exam with good grades and I can proudly say that in the public because I can defend my certificate.
The point I am trying to point here is that, sometimes students who engage in examination malpractice do so because their environment accepts it. That is to say, environmental factor is also one of the causes of examination malpractice.
5. Failure to prepare for examination: Unlike the old days, majority of students of nowadays don’t prepare for examination. They walk into their examination hall with empty heads and expect God to do magic for them. When they find out that can not pass the examination on their own, they will resort to examination malpractice as that is their only option.
A typical example of a student like this is my roommate when I was in 300level at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC). He never read his books for one day. What he new how to do best was to party with his friends and come back to school during weekends to do his assignments. During examinations, supervisors usually watch him closely because he is generally known as the king of examination malpractice. So you see, failing to prepare for examination is actually one of the causes of examination in our society today.
6. Over population in schools: What do you expect 150 students to do during examination when they are all congestion in classroom. Obviously, the environment is already encouraging examination malpractice in the first place. This is the case in almost all the government owned secondary and tertiary institution in Nigeria.
The reason why I am bringing up this point is because, I went to a government owned secondary school. During my days, we were about 250 in just one classroom. Our teachers don’t even care whether or not students are engaging in examination malpractice because the population was too much. Even the brilliant ones like me that always hid my answer during examination could no longer hide them because the classroom was too congested.
Effects of examination Malpractice in Nigeria
Below are some of the likely effects of examination malpractice in Nigeria if nothing is done to reduce it:
- Dearth of professionals in Nigeria
- Decrease in the nation’s integrity
- Increase in corruption
1. Dearth of professionals in Nigeria: Believe it or not, if examination malpractice is not given a good fight in Nigeria, the country will definitely get to a stage where there is dearth of professionals in every sector. What this means is that, there will be few or no professional doctors, lawyers and even engineers in the country.
Now, imagine a country where there is only a few number of good lawyers. Apparently, innocent citizens of that country is going to suffer because of injustice. Government will have a justification for all their evil deeds and unjust policies.
Accordingly, in a country where there is no professional and qualified doctor, people will die because of little sicknesses or professional misconducts on the part of the unqualified doctor. I know of a man in my community who died as a result of the overdose given to him by his own son who is a medical doctor. He was one of those rich men who will always pay for his child to pass any examination in school. Eventually, his own actions killed him. Obviously, his son is one of the products of examination malpractice.
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2. Decrease in the nation’s integrity: This is the case in Nigeria presently. In recent times, students prefer to study abroad than in Nigeria. The reason is because, people who studied in Nigeria are valued lesser than those who study abroad. The funniest part of it is the fact that, Nigerian students now prefer to study in less developed countries like Ghana, South Africa and even Gambia which Nigeria is far better than. This points to the fact that Nigeria’s education system is gradually declining and the nation’s integrity is going low too.
Nowadays, it is probably impossible to see a Nigerian, who graduated from a Nigerian university, going to further his/her education in Harvard or Manchester University. In fact, before top universities like Harvard or Manchester will admit a Nigeria, there must be proper scrutinizing of the student to be sure that he/she is truly academically sound.
3. Increase in corruption: Corruption is one of the biggest problems Nigeria is having today. In fact, i am of the opinion that corruption is the only problem in Nigeria because every other problem of Nigeria is as a result of corruption. One of the likely consequences of examination malpractice in Nigeria is an increase in corruption rate.
Trust me; if the students are taught to solely depend on examination malpractice to pass their examination, they will grow with the understanding that cheating is not really bad. Undoubtedly, this will reflect every other aspects of their life.
As it is rightly said, the youths are the leaders of tomorrow. Whatever that is inculcated in them today, will definitely grow with them. So, if they are allowed to cheat during examination, then looting public funds won’t be a problem too.
4. Underdevelopment: It will surprise you to know that one of the reasons why Nigeria is still underdeveloped is because our education system has not been able to produce enough qualified students in different fields of study. It seems as if our education system is more concerned about producing students who can write examination and pass very well, than those who can actually put into practice what they have been taught.
This is actually the reason why the country is still underdeveloped after many years of independence. Believe it or not, only about 20% of the federal university universities in Nigeria are currently equipped with all the necessaries a good university should have. As a result of this, students concentrate more on passing their examination because that is the only way they can be deemed fit in their various professions.
Solutions to Examination Malpractice in Nigeria
Below are some tentative solutions to the problem of examination malpractice in Nigeria:
- Good parental upbringing
- Increase in the salary of teachers
- Incentives for those who report malpractice cases
- De-emphasizing of the need for certificate
- Creation of more schools and learning facilities
- Government should encourage education
1. Good parental upbringing: From my discussion in the early part of this work, it is clear the parental upbringing contributes a lot to examination malpractice in Nigeria. The way a child is trained can increase or decrease the rate of examination malpractice in Nigeria. The reason is because, most people act the way they act in the public because, that is the way they were trained.
On that note, if parents can inculcate in their children that examination malpractice should be fraund upon at all times, there will be a drastic decline in the rate of examination malpractice in Nigeria with time.
In 2007, my friend told me the story of a student who insisted that he will not engage in examination malpractice even when every other person was. The student told the investigator that his mother warned him not to engage in examination malpractice and that he must obey his mother. When I heard of this, I was amazed. No doubt, good parental upbringing can really decrease the rate of examination malpractice in Nigeria.
2. Increase in the salary of teachers: I have come to realize that not every teacher/Lecturer actually likes encouraging students to engage in examination malpractice. Sometimes, teachers engage in examination malpractice because their salary is not enough for them. Thus, in other to increase their salary, they will ask students to pay some amount of money so as to enable them pass the examination.
Trust me; if the government should increase the salary of teachers in school by 30%, there will be less case of examination malpractice in Nigeria. To corroborate this, many teachers have expressed the opinion that one of the tentative ways through which examination malpractice can be fought in Nigeria is by increasing the salaries of teachers. It will really go a long way to curb examination malpractice in this country.
3. Incentives for those who report malpractice cases: In 2011, the government of Nigeria deviced a new way of catching corrupted persons in the country. The government made a public announcement that there will be incentives for anyone who reports any case of corruption to the government. That year, many corrupt public officers were exposed. In fact, some corrupt people who didn’t want to get caught started to pressurize the government to stop the policy.
If that same tactics is deployed in fighting examination malpractice in Nigeria, there will be a rapid decrease in the rate of examination malpractice in Nigeria. Truth be told, most people who enjoin students to engage in examination malpractice, don’t like it. Some of them are forced to do it because they are indigent. So, if the government or any any examination body in Nigeria starts giving incentives to people who report cases of examination malpractice, i strongly believe that the rate of examination malpractice in Nigeria will decrease in a short time.
4. De-emphasizing of the need for certificate: Until less emphasis is placed on paper qualification in Nigeria, many students will not stop striving to get good grades in school through any means. I have stated in the early part of this article that one of the reasons why many students engage in examination malpractice is for them to get the best grade while in school, as that will determine how fit they are in their profession.
Employers of labor must understand that grades does not really show that someone is fit for a job. What will show that someone is really fit for a job is the practical capacity of that person. It is possible for a student who had low grades while in school to work better than another student with good grades in thesame area of specialty.
My point hear is that for examination malpractice to reduce, it is necessary that lesser value be placed on the paper qualification of students.
5. Creation of more schools and learning facilities: This is on the part of the government. By creating more schools in Nigeria, there will be less number of students in a particular classroom and that will discourage examination malpractice in any form. Evidently, students in schools where there are very low numbers of students perform more better than those in over populated schools.
The reason is because, in those less populated schools, students are well monitored to ensure that they actually learn what is being taught in the classroom. However, no teacher/Lecturer in an overpopulated school has the time and strength to do that.
Providing learning facilities will also help to foster learning in school. It will help students to know the what they are supposed to know at every level of their education. In my opinion, creating more schools and learning facilities will go a long way to solve the problem of examination malpractice in Nigeria.
6. Government should encourage education: Trust me, if the government starts encouraging education there will be a drastic reduction in the number of examination malpractice recorded in the country every year. In the United States of America currently, students who are not able to completely pay for their education can be given loan by the US government.
This does not only show that their education is important. It also encourages students in the US to keep studying.
Increasing the salary of every profession is also a good idea because when students are confident about what they can earn after graduating, they won’t be looking for ways to make money or scam other people online.
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From my discussion so far, it is evident that the problem of examination malpractice can be drastically reduced in Nigeria, even though it cannot be totally stopped. With the tentative solutions I have proffered, there is no doubt that Nigeria’s education system can still come back to life.
However, for this to happen our parents, government and teacher must also play their role effectively. The Nigerian society must see examination malpractice as an abominable act. This will help to deter many students from engaging in examination malpractice in the country.
Hope this article was helpful? If you still have any question or contribution to this article, kindly send them via the comment section. Remember, your solution to the problem of examination malpractice in Nigeria can also help to save the country’s educational system.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.