In almost every country in the modern-day world, examinations are among the primary methods of assessing learners' skills and knowledge. In Nigeria, these exams come in the form of primary school exams, secondary school exams, and those conducted in higher learning institutions. Still, one of the biggest challenges in carrying out these assessments is examination malpractice. This vice has eaten so deep into the Nigerian education system that it can no longer be ignored.
What is exam malpractice, and how does it happen? Exam malpractice comes in numerous forms and can include any of a wide range of parties, including the examinees, tutors, examiners, and other external forces.
Examination malpractice causes, effects, and solutions
This article on examination malpractice will look at the definition, forms, causes, and effects of exam malpractice in Nigeria.
Examination malpractice meaning
The definition of examination malpractice is improper or illegal conduct by an examination candidate (examinee) with the intention of passing the examination.
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Forms of exam malpractice
To define examination malpractice, one must understand that exams are designed to take place under a set of standards. When these standards are breached, it is often in the form of one or more forms of malpractice. Here are the various forms that exam malpractice can take.
- Impersonation: This is one of the best-known forms of examination malpractice in numerous countries worldwide, including Nigeria. Impersonation is the act of pretending to be another person with the aim of helping them cheat and pass the exams.
- External assistance: This vice usually involves exam officers who receive bribes from candidates in exchange for some form of assistance before, during, or after the examinations. These officers can sometimes threaten students, forcing them to part with bribes.
- Giraffing: This term is derived from the physical features of the giraffe, particularly its long neck. This form of malpractice involves a situation in which an examinee cranes their neck to view what their neighbour is writing and copy it. It is among the oldest forms of exam malpractice.
- Inscription: This involves inscribing notes on one's body or materials allowed into the exam room. Some of the most common include writing notes on one's palm, tables, examination hall walls, and small pieces of paper.
- Collusion: This is the vice that results in what is commonly known as exam leakage. Typically, a candidate colludes with an officer of the exam setting body, allowing them to get a copy of the questions in advance. They then revise the exact questions.
- Intimidation/assault: At times, students sitting their exams can intimidate or assault the officers invigilating the exams. This can be in the form of brandishing weapons or any other form of assault. The exam officers are then forced to let the candidates carry out their wishes, often some other form of cheating.
Why do students cheat in their exams?
Here are the primary causes of exam malpractice in Nigeria.
Parenting is, quite often, the beginning of numerous virtues and vices. Parents typically play an integral role in examination malpractice in Nigeria. Some parents have little, if any, interest in their children's academic life.
When exam time comes around, some of these parents are often at the forefront in facilitating cheating for their children to get good grades.
A corrupt educational system
The Nigerian education sector is nothing like it used to be decades ago. One of the biggest aspects to blame is the extent of the rot in the education sector. Today, education is viewed as a business, with some school owners willing to do anything to ensure their institutions come out on top.
Additionally, some institutions employ untrained teachers in a bid to reduce their operations costs. This then affects students' performance, making them resort to unorthodox methods to attain good grades.
Poor students' attitude
Given that students are the common factor in all forms of malpractice, it goes without saying that they bear the biggest responsibility in the vice. Some students have been known to be lazy and seek any shortcut to good grades that do not involve studying and working hard.
Some of these students do not believe in the tried and tested attributes such as dedication and consistency. As a result of this poor attitude, such students often tend to resort to various forms of examination malpractice.
Environmental (societal) factors
At times, Nigerian candidates have found themselves in a society where examination malpractice is celebrated and, sometimes, justified. The environment has a way of influencing students who are quick to embrace norms.
In a society that will go to any lengths to succeed, cheating has become one of the somewhat accepted vices in society.
Some forms of exam malpractice thrive in overpopulated schools. Giraffing, for example, is quite prevalent in overpopulated exam halls but can be easily controlled in well-spaced-out settings. Sadly, overpopulation is among the biggest challenges in Nigerian government-sponsored institutions.
undue emphasis on academic results
The reason why exam malpractices are on the rise is partly due to the high value society has placed on academic results over skills and professionalism. Thus, everybody wants to get that piece of paper either by hook or crook.
What are the effects of exam malpractice?
Here are some of the undesirable effects brought about by exam malpractices.
- Underdevelopment: One of the primary reasons most underdeveloped countries find themselves in precarious situations is the lack of qualified personnel in various economic sectors. This happens when the education sector is constantly producing unqualified people who only passed their examinations through cheating.
- Watering down professions: Imagine a country whose doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, and accountants are all products of exam malpractice. Such a country would have professions that are only so by name. As a result, people die at the hands of incompetent doctors; students get substandard education at the hands of incompetent teachers, and so on.
- Increased corruption: Corruption is among Nigeria's biggest economic problems. Looking at the vice critically, one can see that the corruption in numerous public offices stems from the generally corrupt societal and education systems in the country. If students cheat in their exams, they believe they can get away with any form of corruption afterwards.
- Decrease in the nation's integrity: We have all heard of numerous countries whose education certificates are not recognized anywhere else. Ince exam malpractice becomes the order of the order, such a country loses its integrity and can no longer be trusted by other nations.
What are the solutions to exam malpractice?
Here is a look at some of the possible measures that can be taken to curb exam malpractice.
- Creation of more schools and learning facilities: This will go a long way in ensuring Nigeria's classrooms are not overcrowded. As a result, examinees will have a harder time engaging in vices such as giraffing, which are common in overcrowded exam halls.
- Government should encourage education: In some developed countries, the government plays an active role in encouraging the populace to acquire education. This is done through numerous incentives such as loans and grants. This goes a long way in curbing malpractice since the students' goals become the attainment of knowledge and skills.
- De-emphasizing the need for academic results: Given that people are endowed differently, it would only make sense to reduce the emphasis placed on academic results. Some people acquire knowledge and skills quite easily but cannot articulate them in an examination paper. Instead, employers should find ways to gauge someone's ability via practical skills and not written examinations.
- Rewarding those who report malpractices: In 2011, the government of Nigeria came up with a new way of nabbing corrupt government officials. This was via an incentive program designed to reward those who reported corruption cases. The same concept can be applied to exam malpractice.
- Encouraging good parental upbringing: Poor parenting plays a huge role in exam cheating. The government can come up with social programs designed to change the way parents view their roles in this modern-day digital era.
What is the meaning of examination malpractice?
What is examination malpractice? Exam malpractice meaning is simply improper or illegal conduct by an examination candidate (examinee) with the intention of passing the examination.
Why do students cheat in their exams?
There are numerous reasons, some of the most common being society's emphasis on academic certificates, overpopulated schools, and poor upbringing.
What are the effects of exam malpractice?
Some of the most detrimental ones include underdevelopment, increased corruption, and a country's loss of integrity.
Examination malpractice is quite possibly the biggest challenge in Nigeria's education system today. Students, exam officials, tutors, parents, and other parties have come up with ways to benefit from the vice, resulting in numerous unwanted effects.
Legit.ng recently explored the effects of colonialism in Nigeria. Like numerous other African countries, Nigeria was under imperial rule since 1914. The country's 46 years of colonial rule were characterized by culture changes, slavery, improved literacy, and improved infrastructure, among other impacts.
The jury is still out on whether the positive effects outweigh the negative ones or not. Nevertheless, the inarguable fact is that post-colonial Nigeria is vastly different from pre-colonial Nigeria in so many aspects.