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 to it, one needs to know the causes and its effects in secondary schools, tertiary institutions, and the society.
What is Examination Malpractice
According to Dr. Malami Umar Tambawal, he defined it as:
Any deliberate act of wrong doing, contrary to the rules of examinations designed to give a candidate an unfair advantage or able frequently, to place a candidate at a disadvantage. From this definition it is clear that if malpractice is allowed, some students will have undue advantage over other students. And this should not be encouraged.
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Oxford living dictionaries define examination as a formal test of a person’s knowledge or proficiency in a subject or skill.
It is all about testing your knowledge, understanding and how skillful you are in a subject. The goal is not to scare you as a student, it is to know where you stand or your proficiency in a subject(s). This will then help you to buckle up, perhaps, 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 some 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 not known 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 has faking your proficiency in a subject.
Although there is Examination Malpractice Act 1999 in Nigeria which was enacted to curb this menance, however, exam misconduct has remained on the increase in Nigeria.
Types of Exam Malpractice
The types of malpractice especially Nigeria include:
- Plagiarism: A piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own
- Falsification: Fraudulent changes of document or counterfeiting of data, information or reference sources.
- Cheating during examination: An act of using helpful material for the exam but in a way that the examiner does not know about it. It can also mean peeping through someone’s answers during exams
- Bribery: Getting the examination questions and right answers prior to the exam day or marks for money.
- Impersonation: This is also a common type of examination malpractice. 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.
Causes of examination malpractice
It is part of parents’ work to train their children on how to be self-dependent and also to build a level of confidence in their children. Parents can’t be exempted from this social wrong because they also contribute to this problem.
Some parents’ don’t care about the academic progress of their children, some are even ignorant on the proficiency of their children in a subject. There should be a level of awareness parents must have about their children, so that they can find solutions to any area they are having issues.
An academic problem attended to early will surely help your children to improve in their study. Students that are 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 be a path 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 in an attempt to avoid these negative outcomes.
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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 business men that are only interested in making money and not what their school can impact on the students.
The kind of teachers employed by these schools are of low quality because of their inability to pay for professionals, this will definitely affect the performance of students in any exam. Some of these schools are even malpractice center, they encourage their students to engage in malpractice.
There is no other way to success in the examination when students don’t have the required knowledge to pass. Those that will impact that knowledge are not well paid and well taken care of. Educational policy is getting worse day by day. This has a direct impact on the students and is creating fear in them, because of fear, many students have resulted into malpractice as a means of escape.
The kind of environment we live in now celebrate examination-malpractice and see nothing wrong with it. The environment has a way of molding and influencing a child. And children are quick in embracing the norms of the day.
People now see failure as a bad thing and find it difficult to see failure from the right perspective, so students are looking 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 to you your present status and inform you to brace up and prepare better for the next challenge).
Some students are lazy and all they are waiting for is a shortcut. They have a bad approach to life: they don’t believe in adequate preparation, hard work and total dedication to their studies. This is a very wrong attitude to possess by any student because the ripple effect of such attitude is disastrous.
Undue emphasis on certificate
The reason why this social anomaly is on the rise is because of the high premium or value the society has placed on certificate over skills and professionalism.
Trend of Examination Misconduct in Nigeria
The table and the graph below show the analysis of Examination Misconduct in West Africa Senior Secondary School Examination Conducted by WAEC from 2000-2004.
|Year||No of students who engaged in Malpractice|
Source of data: https://guardian.ng/features/how-exam-malpractice-undermines-nations-development/
Effect of Examination Malpractice
- A nation that is backward academically because of its failure to produce students that can think analytically, critically, and independently.
- A nation that will be governed by the unqualified because of its inability to produce leaders that are well equipped mentally, morally and physically.
- Students with low self-esteem will increase.
- Hard working students will not be given opportunity because there is no fair playing ground for students to show their proficiency.
- Economic growth of the nation will be affected because those that can move the economy forward have been put in the back row of the society.
- There will be rise in unemployment.
- Students who can’t think and solve problems independently will increase.
- It will lead to increase in students who can’t believe in their ability to achieve greatness in life.
- Malpractice may become endemic in any society that allows it
It has even been discussed that the nation stands the risk of being underdeveloped in terms of when its youths reject the honor of getting a sound education and prefer to opt for illegal activities and deceptive via cheating during exams
If there is anything to run away from as a student, it is to shun exam-malpractice. It can kill your self-confident, 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 encourage. Teachers should ensure that their teaching method should be learners-centered, and they should always reward students who make an attempt when grading.
In conclusion, all examination bodies from primary level to tertiary level should come together and look for an innovative way to conduct an exam in such a way that will checkmate any candidate who wants to engage in examination malpractice.
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