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International Journal of Business and Management Tomorrow

Vol. 1 No. 2

Examination Malpractices In Nigerian Schools:Environmental Influences And Management Strategies

Prof. Williams Olusola Ibukun, Dean, School Of Postgraduate Studies Dr. Babatope Kolade Oyewole, Department Of Educational Foundations And Management

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Abstract
Examination malpractice is one of the greatest social menace and cankerworms that has eaten deep into Nigerian educational system. The rate at which this academic dishonesty is growing is very alarming. The types of examination malpractices have been found to range from impersonation, various forms of collusion, spying and mutual exchange of materials, assault of invigilators and hiring of thugs to disrupt examinations. This paper examines the magnitude of examination malpractices in Nigeria; the underlying causes of examination malpractices in Nigeria, the environmental influences of examination malpractices in Nigeria and the management strategies to stem the problem. In order to solve the problem of examination malpractices, a concerted social system approach is suggested. It concludes that the issues of equity, public mental re orientation and stable economic and political systems should be addressed to reduce the spate of examination malpractices in Nigeria.

Introduction
The educational system in Nigeria is currently facing innumerable challenges. The system can be said to be in a state of stress. This crisis, as Coombs (1968) labelled the global phenomenon has been occasioned in the main by growing contradictions in Nigerias social and educational system. First, there is soaring demand for education in the face of dwindling resource allocation to the system. In spite of the rush and clamour for more education, their economic system is not expanding enough to cater for the employment needs of school leavers. Secondly, the Nigerian society at large appears to be in a flux. The materialistic value system generated by the dynamics of change in the country appears to be destructive to the educational system. The effects of the imbalances in the Nigerian educational system has led to the perceived stress currently being witnessed in the school system. Today, the quality and validity of certificates from Nigerias schools are being questioned in the light of the growing challenges in the preparation and examination of the products of the school system. Eckstein (2003) observed that cheating in examinations are evident in developed and developing countries but the security regulations and means of implementing them are not universally provided and often ineffective. The present paper examines one of the dimensions of the crisis in the school system in Nigeria today Examination Malpractices. Specifically, this paper will address the following: (1) Magnitude of Examination malpractices in Nigeria. (2) The underlying causes of examination malpractices (3) The environmental influences of examination malpractices (4) Management strategies to stem the problem.

Magnitude of Examination Malpractices in Nigeria


That there are malpractices in the process of examination in Nigeria is no longer news. The concern in contemporary society is the alarming extent of the frequency and dimensions of examination problems. Indeed whether in the primary, secondary or tertiary levels in the school system, the problems of cheating and other sharp practices have been noted. Months before and after the West African School Certificate Examination in Nigeria, the media is replete with alarming comments on leakages of question papers, various forms of cheating in the examination halls and post-examination arrangements to falsify results. The Daily Times of Nigeria July 4, 1995 writes under an alarming caption that 72,516 Nigerian candidates were involved in various forms of examination malpractices in the 1994 Senior School Certificate Examinations. The logical question to ask with this astronomical figure is how many sat for the examination without one form of cheating or the other. The types of examination malpractices have been found to range
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from impersonation, various forms of collusion, spying, mutual exchange of materials, assault of invigilators and hiring of thugs to disrupt examinations. Other form of examination malpractices identified by WAEC include assistance of candidates by invigilators to answer or have clue to difficult concepts, while some invigilators also go to the extent of answering some parts of the question for candidates (Kayode, 2011). Examination supervision is today a hazardous assignment in Nigeria. Aisha (2011) opined that examination malpractice is a cankerworm that portends grave dangers for the nation. The magnitude of examination malpractices has increased over the years. (See table I in appendix). Available data shows that for instance while there were 1,047 cases in the Rivers State in the August/September 1991 GCE Examinations. The incidence of malpractices had escalated to 6,319 in the May/June 1992 Exams and 9,879 in the May/June 1993 Examinations. Bendel State (now Edo/Delta States) had 3,231 cases in the 1991 August/September GCE, Edo/Delta (the new names) had 5,968 in the 1992 May/June Exams but in the 1993 May/June School Certificate Exams, Delta had 13,106 cases while Edo separately had 7,339 cases. This upward trend is reflective of what happens in other states of the Federation. This is to say that those states with low examination malpractice cases also have an upward incidence in the number of such cases in subsequent years. Katsina is an example of a location with this trend-low but increasing incidence of examination problems. Ogunji (2011) notes that since 1991 to date in Nigeria, examination cheating have taken incredible and sophisticated dimension in both secondary and tertiary educational institutions. Adenipekun (2004) observed that the five major examination bodies (JAMB, WAEC, NECO, NABTEB and NTI) cancel an average of 740,000 results on account of massive malpractice. An average of 450 principals, supervisors, invigilators and examiners are blacklisted for their involvement in abetting examination malpractice each year. About 9,000 students are handed to the police at various centres each year. In similar vein, Guloma (2011) remarked that examination bodies cancel an average of 429,000 results yearly which experts say amount to N21 billion wastage. In 2007 for example, a total of 324 schools that were identified to be involved in examination malpractices were blacklisted. The then Minister of Education, Dr. (Mrs) Oby Ezekwesili endorsed derecognition of the schools as centres for examinations from 2007 to 2010. Public campaigns and enlightenment programmes embarked on by government and non-governmental agencies on the need to eliminate examination malpractices have not yielded the desired results, not even the introduction of jail terms for culprits. Whereas in the past, students tended to hide the acts, now they advertise them with reckless abandon. The incidence of examination malpractices in Nigeria has spread to virtually both urban and rural areas. Some secondary schools are now tagged miracle centres where students indulge in various examination malpractices and came up with excellent result at the end of the day. In the past examination malpractice was regarded as a backlash of urbanisation and civilization. At that time examination problems were thought to be limited to the growing centres of Western civilization. Today however, every nook and cranny of the country has its taste of the disease. Appeals are being made to Obas, Obis and Emirs to help WAEC and NECO in its war against examination malpractices. It seems then that the problem of cheating in examinations is a national issue requiring unified attention. Perhaps faced with the growing incidence of examination malpractice the Nigerian Military Government in 1984 issued decree 20 specifying twenty one years of imprisonment for people tried and convicted for examination malpractices and related problems. However, Examination Malpractice Act 33 of 1999 reversed the above decree but stipulates punishment ranging from a fine of N50, 000.00 to N100, 000.00 and imprisonment for a term of three to four years with or without option of fine. Even with the positive measures in place, it is doubtful if there had been a reduction in the incidence of examination problems in the country. Today, the problem continues to escalate in its various forms and in alarming proportions.

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In a typical examination day, students have gone to the extent of bringing prepared answers into examination halls. That is, after paying exorbitant fees to buy question papers from unscrupulous vendors and WAEC officials. It is alleged that having had opportunity of access to live questions, some candidates merely come in to submit their prepared answers. This is said to be easy through the collusion of centre supervisors and examination invigilators. It is the case today, that even when a candidate is absent from a particular examination/subject, that is not an indication he would fail the examination. It may be the reverse, particularly when a more brilliant impostor had taken his place in the examination hall. His absence could result in a distinction grade in the subject: On examination days, questions are smuggled out to commissioned writers who stay in nearby classrooms or bushes to write answers direct from textbooks. Such prepared answers are smuggled back through a network of paid agents into the examination pack.

Causes of Examination Malpractice in Nigeria


The causal factors of examination malpractices in Nigeria have been traced to several sources including, the society, forces within the school system, the Examing body and Government attitude to education. (a) The Society and examination malpractices. The Nigerian society is corrupt and decadent. It would be asking for the impossible to expect that the school as microcosm will be different. The school system mirrors the society. Hence the corrupt tendencies, sharp practices, 419 syndromes in the society have been replicated in the school as an organization within the societal supra-system. The hope is that when the societys ethics and value system improve, then there could be a downward trend in the incidence of examination malpractices and ills in the school system. (b) Class system and examination malpractices. It has been observed that the Nigerian society has gradually shifted from traditional communal system to one characterised by socio-economic stratification. This has implications to examination problems in schools. Parents who belong to the upper classes (the haves) want to maintain this advantaged position for themselves and their generation. They go into ridiculous and unwholesome extent to ensure that their offspring pass examinations with high grades so that they too could be in the so called elite and professional disciplines. This is in spite of the fact that their children having been spoilt may naturally not make the required high grades in their examinations. Such parents have been found to aid/approve malpractices and sometimes directly influence the examination system to favour their wards. An influential parent in an attempt to secure admission for his child in a school once remarked before a highly placed university official: Dont worry Sir, I will bring another score from.... I had been warned to pay for a higher score. I did not know this will not reach the cut-off mark.That is, the kind of parents in the Nigerian society today who would perpetrate heinous crimes to get what they want. (c) Over-reliance on certificates and examination performance: The school system in Nigeria appears to be structured towards passing of exams. There appears to be a disproportionate emphasis on examinations even while moral issues, attitudes and indepth broad based knowledge are neglected. Whether in the primary, secondary or tertiary level of the Nigerian educational system, from the first day at school, the inexorable presence of examination depresses or reduces the level of happiness of students. The emphasis placed on certificates for the purpose of admission and employment has led to the crave to pass examination at all costs (Nwana, 2000). In the developed countries of the world, practical experience and capabilities on the job have been given more priority rather than possession of raw certificates. The Diploma disease (Dore, 1978) has contributed to the high incidence of examination malpractices in Nigeria. Alarape and Onokoya (2003) were not wrong when they concluded that cheating is gradually becoming a means of getting ahead academically and this is a major problem facing students today.

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(d) Cultism and examination malpractices. The incidence of cults and secret societies in Nigeria has also been observed to be related to examination malpractices. It should be admitted that those involved in examination leakages work as a ring. Students in the Nigerian school system are members of secret cults for the purpose of mutual benefit. Connivance to cheat in school examinations has become one of the purposes of secret cults in the school system. The war against cultism and drug abuse in the Nigerian society when carried to the schools could have attenuating effect on examination malpractices. (e) Unemployment trends and examination malpractices in Nigeria There is no doubt that with the gradual collapse of Nigerias economy from the 1980s, unemployment among school leavers has risen. In the absence of reliable labour statistics, as high as half of the products of secondary schools and possibly 40 percent of university graduates could be in the category of educated but unemployed in Nigeria. A situation where graduates wait for three to upwards of six years to get employed is unsatisfactory and wasteful. The negative effect is that it has been observed that most of those who impersonate to write examination for others do so on contract and as a way of employment. Graduates who have spent three years and above without a job readily jump at the opportunity of being employed as a mercenary writer without thinking of the moral and criminal implications of their action. Of course the individual, it is believed must exist first, before moral or criminal issues could have relevance. It is the hope that when the society satisfies its duty of providing jobs to integrate youths into its fold, the social malaise of examination malpractice will substantially reduce in Nigeria. (f) Poor academic performance and examination malpractices The poor performance of students in public examinations could be one of the major causes of examination malpractice in Nigeria. When students observe that however hard they tried because they had been ill-prepared for their examinations, they could still perform badly, the alternative could be to avert such disaster through cheating. The underlying factors of poor performance among students particularly at the secondary school system is multifaceted. There is the teacher factor, poor resource situation, instability of educational policies, strikes and general lack of motivation among teachers and students. Instability of various kindspolitical, social and economic in Nigeria often leads to poor programme planning and implementation. At times, the teachers go on strike to press home their demands. Under these circumstances students are often apprehensive that having failed to cover substantial part of their syllabus due to instability in the schools, the best and ready option is to scout for live questions, and cheat to obtain required levels of performance. Perhaps when sanity and stability returns to the school system and planned programmes are effectively covered, students would have more confidence to face their examinations without recourse to cheating. (g) Teachers Commitment. Along with the issue of performance in schools is that of teachers commitment to their jobs.It is argued that teachers are no longer dedicated and committed to the profession of teaching. Students therefore seek alternative sources to pass their examinations. Hence, the idea of miracle centres. The issue of teachers dedication cannot be divorced from motivation. Perhaps the problem of low commitment to duty on the part of teachers is a reflection of their low and rather debased status in the society. Behaviourists like Likert, Argyris and McGregor point out the need to arrive at equilibrium between the need for production (performance) and the personal needs of workers in organizations. When teachers are poorly rated in terms of remuneration and pay schedules are flouted resulting in several months of unpaid salary bills, the public should not expect maximum performance and productivity from teachers. It appears that the personal needs of teachers for survival has to be addressed by policy makers in Nigeria if commitment is expected in the teaching profession. Fagbamiye (1987: 102) while commenting on the relevance of teachers to learning has lamented the poor public image of teachers. Often and again, teachers are blamed for poor performances and subsequent ills within the school system (Olatunji, 1988:23) but we often fail to ask or solve the fundamental question: Why are the teachers of today not committed in Nigeria? The truth perhaps lies in the reality that both in status and economic returns, teachers in Nigeria have been bypassed by their colleagues in other sectors of the economy. There is the sad reality today that landlords in Nigeria inquire from would-be-tenants if they
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are teachers. If they are teachers, there would be no vacancy. This is not the place for a full scale apologetic for teachers but when the poor public image of teachers improve for the better, it is then we should expect a positive change in the attitude of teachers to their job. (h) Poor school resources and examination malpractices The school in Nigeria has grown in absolute numbers and student enrolments since independence. The number of classrooms between 2004 and 2008 are stat ic despite the increase in students enrolment (See Table IIb in appendix). Yet, the resources available to the system have been dwindling. Financial allocations to education in Nigeria has not been keeping pace with the rate of developments in the education system. (Ibukun, 1988). Many secondary school students complete their secondary education without ever having contact with basic botanical and zoological specimen and chemical reagents. Some have not practised map reading on topographical sheets because they are not available. The microscope, measuring fars and several equipments are merely heard of without being seen. It is part of the attempt to make up for the lapses in teaching and understanding occasioned by lack of equipments that lead to examination malpractices. (i) The Role of Corrupt Examination Officials A significant proportion of the sources of examination malpractices in Nigeria could be traced to the officials of the examining bodies. Leakage of questions from strong-rooms sale of life questions and undue assistance to candidates are some of the processes by which the examination malpractices. The examining bodies like WAEC, NECO and JAMB should look inward and purge the bad eggs in their stable. It is a case of physician heals thyself. The searchlight should first be directed at solving part of the root causes of the problem of examination malpractices in Nigeria. (j) Rigid Curriculum and Evaluation Methods The content, methods and evaluation procedures in the Nigerian educational system perhaps have negative contributions to the effectiveness of the education system. If the education system is relevant in content and methods to the daily lives of students, examinations and their procedures could become more natural. The mechanical learning system with little emphasis on practical and psychomotor domains of knowledge could lead to frustration. A more related and relevant content and practical methods of examining could help to reduce the incidence of examination malpractices in Nigeria.

Environmental Influences on Examination Malpractices in Nigeria


Examination malpractices in Nigeria has environmental or locational dimensions. These would be highlighted below. (a) The Nigerian environment and examination malpractices. As observed earlier in this paper, the Nigerian society appears to have a perverse value system. The societies in the 1980s and beyond often acclaim and appraise mediocrity and questionable success. This is one of the roots of the problems in Nigeria today. Within our environment, if an academically poor candidate brings home WASCE result that indicates distinction in 9 subjects, we do not query the veracity and authenticity of such a result. If a young boy of twenty brings a Mercedes car to his village after just two weeks of absence, the society acquiesces and never asks questions. In both cases, a party and a thanksgiving service could be held to honour the Lucky Chap because he has made it. Urban-rural dichotomies and Examination Malpractices in Nigeria Examination malpractices is a nationwide affair in Nigeria. However, as observed in the early part of this work, environmental influences on the incidence, magnitude and causes of the problem may vary from one location to another. A radio link programme on the Ondo State Radiovision Corporation in July this year revealed that rural people assist their wards to cheat in examinations to spite the urban affluent public.
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(b)

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According to a discussant, the elite in the cities have good schools for their children. Unfortunately rural schools are in short of teachers and teaching resources. In order to have Comparable performance for their c hildren, parents in rural communities support everything that could done to assist their wards to pass their examinations. Inequality of access to good quality schools and resources appears to be a major factor in the propensity to engage in examination malpractices in rural areas. On the other hand, the urban elites support their children to cheat in order to maintain their high class status. Then one possible cause of examination malpractices in Nigeria is the attempt to maintain social equilibrium through boosted examination performance as a compensatory action. It could be argued that if there are equal educational opportunities, the endemic struggle between the rich few (the haves) and the majority poor (the have nots) in the country would ease. The desire to support examination malpractices among rural people could then be reduced. Thus the problem of the unaddressed social justice and equity has reared its head in the form of conscious support for a negative value to promote class struggle. Facilities and resources in education should be spread to various environments to mitigate perceived unhealthy rivalry between the various classes and social groups in Nigeria. Educational Resource Localization and Examination Malpractices. Some schools because of their proximity to the seat of government have a disproportionately high share of the educational resources in each state of Nigeria. Unfortunately this is at the expense of the distant or peripheral schools. Teachers refuse posting to rural schools. Inspectors refuse to visit schools in outlandish locations, Instructional and learning materials do not get across to village schools. The result of the disadvantages above is that two sets of schools are created in the Nigerian environment The good well equipped city schools and the poor ill equipped village counterparts. Since there are no facilities, examination supervisors cannot even get to these schools easily. The tendency is that examination malpractices are high in rural areas. It is not surprising that the data in Table I reveals alarmingly high incidence of examination malpractices in Rivers State. This is a location where the resources and accessibility are dismally poor. Resources both human and material are related to productivity in the school system (Ibukun, 1983). If Nigeria desires higher performances in secondary schools, within the context of valid and reliable examination system, then the dichotomy in the allocation of resources to rural and urban schools should be reviewed. Attempts should be made to reduce inequity in resource allocation for a healthy education system. For instance, teachers who agree to serve in rural and rather disadvantaged locations should be compensated financially. (d) Federal, State and Local Schools and Examination Malpractices Schools where the Federal might is present particularly due to ownership of such institutions have several advantages over the state or local counter parts. Social critics like the late Solarin have argued for the closure of existing Federal/State Unity Schools since according to him, because, the elite and ruling class have their children in such well equipped schools they often fail to appreciate the problems in the rural or local schools. There may be some merits of the unity schools if there is equal opportunity of access to them and if government is alive to its responsibility to other learners in the local schools. However, the result of the disparity between the sets of schools is that students from the poor and neglected schools often compensate for perceived social injustice through examination malpractices. This dichotomy goes beyond the secondary school to the university level. What is important is that Nigerian citizens are being produced in all these institutions whether by the Federal States or Local Communities. (c)

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Management Strategies and Recommendations


The management strategies or solutions to the challenges of examination malpractices in Nigeria have been in-built in the fore-going presentation. They will merely be extracted in outline form for emphasis: (a) There should be consistent and higher investment and funding of the education system. (b) Provision of material resources and equipment in all schools. (c) Motivation of teachers for higher productivity. (d) Re-orientation and possible change in Nigerians value system. (e) More relevant and practical educational system. (f) Better and more flexible evaluation system continuous assessment. (g) De-emphasis on certification in preference for practical capabilities and psychomotor activities. (h) Reduction in the rate and incidence of unemployment in Nigeria. (i) Institution of more durable political system for educational stability and effective academic programme implementation. (j) Employment of reliable staff by examining bodies and disengagement of people with doubtful characters and easy virtues. (k) Overall reduction in the inequalities and contradictions in the Nigerian society. (Rural urban, Rich poor problem in the society). (l) Enforcement of the laid down laws/decrees on examination malpractices.

Conclusion
Perhaps there is no other emerging issue of education in Nigeria that has rocked and brought the educational system into disrepute and question than examination malpractices. A number of closely related problems have been found to be associated with the incidence of examination malpractices in the country. Of high importance is the dichotomies between the rich and the poor, the urban and rural dwellers and the perceived social inequalities and deprivations in Nigeria today. In order to solve the problem of examination malpractices, a concerted social system approach is suggested. This will involve probing into the remote causes of examination malpractices in the area of unemployment, inequity in the allocation of educational facilities, and a more relevant and flexible educational and evaluation system. In essence, the problem of examination malpractice may not be solved at the surface or superficial level but at a more fundamental realm. The issues of equity, public mental reorientation and stable economic and political systems should be addressed to reduce the spate of examination malpractices in Nigeria.

Appendix
Table I Examination Malpractices In Selected States In Nigeria State Bendel (Edo/Delta) Enugu/Anambra Rivers Kastina Niger Gongola(Adamawa) Kano/Jigawa
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Aug/Sept 1991 3,231 (Top 1st) 2,428 (2nd) 1,047 (3rd) 3 (Lowest) 9 11 -

May/June 1992 5,968 (3rd) 102.12(1st) 6,319(2nd) 5 59

Nov/Dec. 1992 8,391 8,355 11,174 (1st) 18 7 -

May/June 1993 13,106* 7,339+ 9,879 (2nd) www.ijbmt.com

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Source: Daily Times of Nigeria, 3rd July, 1995. P. 25 * Delta alone + Edo alone xx Enugu Table Iia Growth Of Secondary Education In Nigeria 1960 - 1985 Year 1960 1965 1970 1975/76 1980/81 1984/85 Sources: No. Of schools 1,227 1.654 1,381 1,865 5,002 6,231 Pandit (1985) Ukeje (1991:47) Enrolment 168,308 252,586 258,013 858,785 2,366,833 3,807,755 Growth Index 100 150.08 153.30 510.25 1406.26 2262.38

Table Iib Growth Of Secondary Education In Nigeria 2004 2008 Year of Total Enrolment Classroom Junior School 2004 10,913 98,077 3,507,768 2005 10,913 98,077 3,624,163 2006 18,238 98,077 3,906,544 2007 18,238 98,077 3,531,429 2008 18,238 98,077 3,720,789 Source: Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja Prof. Williams Olusola Ibukun Dean, School Of Postgraduate Studies, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko Ondo State, Nigeria Dr. Babatope Kolade Oyewole Department Of Educational Foundations And Management Faculty Of Education Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti Ekiti State Nigeria. E-Mail: Oyewole.Tope@Yahoo.Com
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No schools

Growth Index Senior School 2,771,695 2,774,180 2,702,811 2,536,731 2,905,154 Junior School 100 103.32 111.37 100.68 106.68 Senior School 100 100.09 97.52 91.53 104.82

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References
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