Causes And Effects Of Examination Malpractice In Society

One of the problems facing our education system in Nigeria is examination malpractice. This misconduct undermines the integrity of educational systems and devalues the merit-based assessment of students’ knowledge and skills. So, to provide a lasting solution, one needs to know the causes and their effects in secondary schools, tertiary institutions, and society.

Oxford Living Dictionaries defines examination as a formal test of a person’s knowledge or proficiency in a subject or skill.

It is about testing your knowledge, understanding, and skill in a subject. The goal is not to scare you as a student; it is to know where you stand or your proficiency level in a subject(s). This will help you buckle down if you are weak in such subject(s).

The misconception of what examination is all about is what gives room for malpractice. It is the same as going to a doctor for a check-up, which is an opportunity to know your health status.

Until we begin to see with a new eye the meaning of examination and while it is administered, we will continue to suffer from the effects of examination malpractice. Myles Munroe said, “When the purpose of a thing is unknown, abuse is inevitable.”

Why will I try to show that I am good in mathematics through malpractice? But in the real sense, I am a terrible student of mathematics. Malpractice can also be seen as faking your proficiency in a subject.

Although the Examination Malpractice Act 1999 in Nigeria was enacted to curb this menace, exam misconduct has remained increasing in Nigeria.

Recommended: History and solutions to malpractice in Nigeria


Plagiarism: A piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own

Falsification: Fraudulent document changes or counterfeiting data, information, or reference sources.

Cheating during examination: Using helpful material for the exam but in a way that the examiner does not know. It can also mean peeping through someone’s answers during exams.

Bribery: Getting the examination questions and right answers before the exam day or marks for money.

Impersonation: This is also a common type of malpractice in examinations. It occurs when a student takes an exam on behalf of someone else or engages in identity fraud to gain access to the exam. Impersonation is a direct attempt to deceive the examiners.


Parental Failure

It is part of parents’ work to train their children to be self-dependent and build confidence in their children. Parents can’t be exempted from this social wrong because they contribute to this problem.

Some parents don’t care about their children’s academic progress; some are even ignorant of their children’s proficiency in a subject. Parents must have a level of awareness about their children so that they can find solutions to area in which they are having issues.

An academic problem attended to early will surely help your children to improve in their studies. Students confident about their proficiency in a subject will not even think of engaging themselves in examination malpractice.

Fear of failure

Fear is an enemy of success and can lead one to do what is unjust. The fear of failing an exam or facing the consequences of poor academic performance can drive some students to cheat to avoid failure.

You can also read: Causes of the collapse in the standard of education in Nigeria

Faulty educational system

One of the results of the faulty educational system is the kind of schools we have now in our society and bad educational policies made by the government. Most of these schools are run by businessmen who are only interested in making money and not how to impact students positively.

The kind of teachers employed by these schools are of low quality because of their inability to pay for professionals. This will affect the performance of students in any exam. Some of these schools are even malpractice centers; they encourage their students to engage in malpractice.

There is no other way to succeed in the examination when students don’t have the required knowledge to pass. Those who will impact that knowledge are not well paid and taken care of. Educational policy is getting worse day by day. This directly impacts the students and creates fear in them; because of fear, many students have resulted in malpractice as a means of escape.

Environmental factor

The kind of environment we live in now celebrates examination malpractice and sees nothing wrong with it. The environment has a way of molding and influencing a child. And children are quick to embrace the norms of the day.

People now see failure as a bad thing and find it difficult to see it from the right perspective, so students now look for all means to pass an exam. No student wants to fail because of environmental pressure, and they have lost the actual meaning of failure (failure reveals your present status and informs you to brace up and prepare better for the next challenge).

Students’ attitude

Some students are lazy, and all they wait for is a shortcut. No one succeeds by shortcuts but by putting the required effort into work. Some don’t believe in adequate preparation, hard work, and dedication to study. This is why they are looking for a way to game the system so they can pass their exams. This is a wrong attitude to possess by any student because the ripple effect of such an attitude is disastrous.

Undue emphasis on certificate

This social anomaly is on the rise because of the high premium or value society has placed on certificates over skills and professionalism.


The table and the graph below show the analysis of Examination Misconduct in the West Africa Senior Secondary School Examination Conducted by WAEC from 2000-2004.

Year No of students who engaged in Malpractice
2000 38163
2001 51259
2002 95538
2003 117351

trend of examination misconduct in nigeria

Source of data:


  • A nation that is backward academically because it fails to produce students who can think analytically, critically, and independently.
  • A nation that will be governed by the unqualified because of its inability to produce leaders who are well-equipped mentally, morally, and physically.
  • Students with low self-esteem will increase.
  • Hardworking students will not be allowed because there is no fair playing ground for students to show their proficiency.
  • The nation’s economic growth will be affected because those who can move the economy forward will be put in the back row of society.
  • There will be a rise in unemployment.
  • Students who can’t think and solve problems independently will increase.
  • It will increase the number of students who can’t believe in their ability to achieve greatness.
  • Malpractice may become endemic in any society that allows it.

If there is anything to run away from as a student, it is to shun exam malpractice. It can kill your self-confidence, rob you of required skills, and make you unfit in a decent environment. It is more profitable when you work hard as a student than to engage in examination malpractice.

Parents-teachers relationship should be encouraged. Teachers should ensure that their teaching method is learner-centered, and they should always reward students who make an attempt when grading.

In conclusion, all examination bodies from the primary to the tertiary levels should come together and look for an innovative way to conduct an exam to checkmate any candidate who wants to engage in examination malpractice.

Recommended: How to improve your academic performance

Bolarinwa Olajire

A tutor with a demonstrated history of working in the education industry. Skilled in analytical skills. Strong education professional with a M. SC focused in condensed matter. You can follow me on Twitter by clicking on the icon below to ask questions.

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