This study considers the remote causes of examination malpractice in the Nigerian education system with a view to suggest new ways of combating the problem. Three research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. Using the multistage stratified sampling technique, 200 students were selected for the study from 20 secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State. An Examination Malpractice Questionnaire (EMQUE) was used for data collection. The three research hypotheses were tested statistically using the Chi square statistical technique. The results indicate that poor study habits, paucity of educational facilities, and inability of schools to cover prescribed syllabuses are significant remote causes of examination malpractice in the country. Based on these findings, methods of tackling the menace are proffered and counselling implications are suggested. Introduction
The issue of examination malpractice is a national emergency situation. Before the advent of western type education, traditional Nigerian education was based mainly on experience and practice. Its mode of instruction was simple as knowledge was passed on orally and through practical tests. Students then only had to commit to memory, learn by rote, or through observation (Ibia, 2006). Because traditional Nigerian education placed little or no emphasis on certification, students had the proper view of education, seeing it as a means to an end not an end in itself. Besides, the Nigerian culture then frowned at dishonesty and would not hesitate to sanction offenders (Agogo, 2006). According to Ejiogu (2001), general moral decadence and the high premium placed on achievement and certificates by Nigerians has in recent times spawned examination fraud. The general overdependence on educational certificates as a measure of one’s knowledge and competence has led to a mad rush by most people for educational certificates (Sofola, 2004). In a bid to acquire such certificates, many have resorted to unethical means—foremost among which are examination malpractices—just to acquire the certificates at all cost. Without doubt, the persistent occurrence of examination malpractice in Nigeria has spawned heinous problems such as: 1. Lack of credibility of academic certificates acquired in Nigeria by the international community. 2. Declining standard of education in the country. Onyechere (2004) asserted that unless we are able to stop examination malpractice, the standard of education in Nigeria will continue to fall. 3. The problem of turning out into the society half-baked—if not unbaked—graduates who are virtually good for nothing and functional illiterates. 4. Inability to secure competitive and challenging jobs which require practical test of proficiency and skills. 5. The existing correlation between examination malpractice and corruption in public offices. As noted by Thomas Derry of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and quoted in the Examinations Ethics Project (EEP) survey (2004) report, students who steal their ways to higher offices through examination malpractice would not find it difficult to engage in corrupt practices when they are employed. 6. Finally, examination malpractice has economic implications. According to EEP (2003) report, Nigeria loses more than one billion naira annually to examination malpractice. Thus examination malpractice could equally be seen as an economic crime. Mention-worthy at this juncture is the fact that Nigerians have not been sleeping since the wake of this mischief in the mid 1970s. It is on recorded history that the first serious case of examination malpractice in independent Nigeria was the leakage in 1977 of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) question paper for the West African School Examination (Onyechere, 1996). The outcry by WAEC in the wake of this incidence led to the setting up of a tribunal by the Federal government of Nigeria to investigate the mass leakage and to...
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