The Involvement Of Undergraduates In Examination Malpractice In Nigerian Universities
The Involvement Of Undergraduates In Examination Malpractice In Nigerian Universities. Examination malpractice as defined by Maheshwari (2011) is a deliberate wrong doing contrary to official examination rules designed to place a candidate at unfair advantage or disadvantage.
1.1 Background of the Study
Oxford Advances Learners Dictionary (6th Edition) opined that examination is a formal written, spoken or practical text, especially at school or college, to see how much you know about a subject or what you can do.
In his oination, Maheshwari (2011) added that examination is the pivotal point around which the whole system of education revolves and the success or failure of the system of examination is indeed the success or failure of the education system.
This brings us to what education in itself means. In Ogbu (1999), education is a grace to the youth, a consolidation to the industries, an ornament to the rich and a wealth to the poor.
Education is simply a process of teaching, training and learning especially in schools and college (Biodun, 1999).
The importance of education cannot be over emphasized in the sense that it is generally regarded as a major indication of a community’s social wellbeing.
Standard of living and social justice. Education therefore comes to be a very important factor in life of a man as it helps in his or her search for a better life.
Today, due to the various activities which have led to compromise of the academic system, there is the intriguing nature of examination malpractice. This has been occasioned by the heightened level of poverty in most recent times. As posted in www.indexmundi.com, in 2013, the per capital income i.e income per head of Nigerians (according to the purchasing power parity – PPP) $2,800 as against America0 as against America’s $561, 651).
Equally due to the recent guest for university certificate by Nigerians the certificate is now viewed as and ends in itself and not a means to an end- this has contributed immensely to the recent increase in examination malpractice (Oduwaiye, 2006). The main gist of examination has degenerated to the extent that its validity and reliability are questionable.
With the untamed presence of irregularities, the Nigerian examination system had been left in the shadow of its purpose, with examination malpractice which is more or less intractable; the Nigerian educational system has produced a total façade of what it shall in real sense.
Examination malpractice as defined by Maheshwari (2011) is a deliberate wrong doing contrary to official examination rules designed to place a candidate at unfair advantage or disadvantage. Akimobi and Akimobi (2006) suggested that examination malpractice is any unacceptable conduct pertaining to examination.
The West African Examination Council (WAEC, 2003) defined it as any irregular behavior exhibited by candidates or anybody charged with the responsibility of conducting examination in or outside the examination hall before, during or after such examination.
The threats to the reliability and validity of examination in the Nigerian education system jeopardize the authenticity of certificate issued and the reliability of the products of the school, due to the prevalence of examination malpractices.
Tracing the origin of examination malpractice from a global perspective, it is pertinent to cite the 1914 incidence when the senior Cambridge local examination paper leaked and this was 38years before the establishment of the West African Examination Council (Abdullahi, Undated).
In explaining further, Abdullahi added that examination malpractice gained prominence in Nigeria in 1977 when there was widespread leakage in the school certificate examination paper which dominated the front of the National Dailies entiled “the malpractice expo 77”.
Since then, the hydra-headed monster has become more like a bane of Nigerian education system. Oladiran (2013) is of the opinion that examination malpractice has developed into a social problem, this is because the more efforts at curbing its different forms the more the desperate and daring the perpetrators become.
Today, in Nigerian Universities examination malpractice has manifested in several forms which have been coded as blocking, runs, ecowas, chukili, impersonation, bullet etc. The case of examination malpractice in Nigeria Universities is always on the increase and the process of examination in this institution has become a contemporary shame (Nwadiani, 2005).
It is noteworthy the fact that though examination malpractice neither a recent phenomenon nor it is peculiar to Nigerian Universities (Awanbor, 2005), the alarming rate of increase is a global issue.
The peculiar “corrupt practice” within the educational system (Joshua et al, 2008) calls for a great concern by the government, teacher, stakeholders, parents and every citizen alike, due to the negative impact it had and is still having on the Nigerian university certificates.
Due to the incessant and constantly reformed nature of examination malpractice, there is a neglect of Nigerian universities certificates by other countries. Most recently, Nigeria University certificates have little or no value in the international sphere due to the crippling mode of educational authenticity by examination malpractice. (Joshua, 2008).
Graduates from Nigerian universities are more or less functional illiterates because of their inability to express themselves and defend of laziness on the Nigerian youths due to the fact that there is an emphasis on paper certificate irrespective of how it is acquired (Oladiran, 2013), this therefore gives the room to the acquisition of these certificates either by look or crook thus, laziness. The proliferation of this academic crime therefore calls for a speedy attention.
1.2 State of the Problem
The level of undergraduate involvement in examination malpractice has become increasingly worrying, problematic and threatening to the well-being of Nigerian educational system (Joshua, 2008).
The leakage of questions papers, reckless impersonation in the examination centres, desperation of students, bribing examination officials are some of the major forms of examination malpractice and fraud as observed by Awambor, (2005).
When examinations are set, rules or codes of conduct which candidates must adhere to while participating in these examinations are provided for principally a candidate is not allowed to engage in any activities that would defeat the essence of the evaluation (Asimya, 2012).
A breach of any of the rules constitutes examination malpractice. The attainment of a universal proportion of examination malpractice (Green and Saxe, 1992) has raised so many socio – cultural questions with regards to the cause, nature, effects and solutions to the phenomenon of examination malpractice.
Examination malpractice and fraud should not be taken for granted if academic institutions want to pursue best practices in examination management such occurrences ultimately damage public confidence in the validity and legitimacy of the examination and results.
Examination malpractice and fraud undermine the integrity and credibility of the institutions of higher education. Examination malpractice also poses the greatest risk to the learner assessment system.
It is therefore imperative that higher education institutions (university precisely) should create innovative mechanisms to prevent unearth and counter unethical and illegal behavior in examination management. The calamity of examination malpractice is not just the havoc it wrecks in our educational system but the gradual introduction of youths into the practice of fraud.
Owing to malpractices by Nigerian undergraduates, examination results tend to give a false picture of the state affairs, hence a good number of school graduates cannot defend the grades obtained in examination (Ada, 2004). A crisis situation is bound to develop in the educational sector, if the trend is not prevented.
A widespread examination malpractice in tertiary institutions in this country has led to a situation where the use of format examination basis for determining the level of candidate’s profiency at absorbing, reproducing and applying knowledge has become impossible.
Furthermore, the ugly incidence of examination malpractice accounts for the existence of several qualifying examinations in Nigeria such as post university matriculation aptitude tests, job placement aptitude test, among others to authenticate candidates certificates some university graduates who are products of examination malpractice have become a reserved army of the unemployable.
This study therefore attempts to assess the prevalence, causes and consequences of examination malpractice among Nigerian University undergraduates.
1.3 Research Questions
i. What is the prevalence of examination malpractice in universities?
ii. What are the types of examination malpractice being perpetuated among undergraduates?
iii. What are the causes of examination malpractice
iv. What are the impacts of examination malpractice?
v. What are the solutions to the problem of examination malpractice among university undergraduates?
1.4 Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study is to investigate the involvement of undergraduates in examination malpractice in Nigerian universities- a study of Ebonyi State University Abakaliki. Specially, this study seeks to:-
i. To examine and document the prevalence of examination malpractice and fraud among undergraduates.
ii. To identify factors which cause examination malpractice and fraud in universities.
iii. To enumerate the types of examination malpractice among undergraduates.
iv. To recommend other measures to be used by higher institutions of learning curbing examination fraud
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study was carried out to unveil the involvement of undergraduates in examination malpractices and what is responsible for the recent high perpetration of examination malpractices in Nigerian Universities will go a long way if the findings are applied, savaging the Nigeria educational system and restoring the validity and reliability of Nigerian University certificate.
Examination malpractice has been noted as a problem in Nigeria thus precipitating national conferences which have been organized to seek ways of preventing examination malpractice and initialing examination integrity in schools (Onyechere 1997). Using sanctions and legislation alone to prevent examination malpractice is deficient as it does not deal with the determinants of the problem.
Research maintains that student’s participation in preventing that emphasizes engagement in learning and examination integrity will be a long – term mechanism for preventing examination malpractice in universities (Ogbu, 1999).
Preventing examination fraud by enforcing laws on students may be counter – productive as students may resist laws that are top – down which do not take their views into consideration.
Furthermore, preventing examination malpractice requires the individual and contextual factors in schools that encourage it to be addressed. Such individual and contextual factors cannot be addressed through laws but thoughts (as a community) engaging in enquiry driven reform and examining the daily realities of and learning and schooling in order to identify what needs “to be fixed and how”.
The characteristics observed in the course of this study may serve as a critical factor to address in preventing examination malpractices in other universities in Nigeria and outside the country.
There is a poor understanding of what constitutes examination malpractice lecturers handle offenders individually, a poor relationship exists between lectures and students are not engaged in learning, the attitude of some school management and lecturers towards examination malpractice is not encouraging and schools/universities do not affectivity invite students to participation in matters that affect them.
Preventing examination malpractice and encouraging academic integrity will demand change in behavior belief, priorities, values and initiation of conditions to meet the vision of a malpractice free Nigeria.
SEE MORE PROJECT TOPICS
One knows about a subject. It could simply be referred to as to as an assessment or a test administered to university students in order to know the level of their knowledge of a particular course.
Examination Malpractice: Any illegal behavior or action that is contrary to a particular examination rulers and regulations.
Socio- cultural: This simply means the societal and cultural factors that give rise to examination malpractice in Nigeria universities.
Socio – Economic Status (SES): An individual’s societal and economic placement based either on achievement or ascription.
Societal Value System: This means what the society owes core i.e what a particular society holds as virtue moralistic or norm. it can also mean the order of importance of things in a society.
Peer Group: This concept simply connotes university mates, friends or fellow undergraduate.
Institution: As used in this study, it means an established organization, especially one dedicated to education i.e. a university.
2.1 Examination Malpractice: An Overview
Examination as defined by Okoye (1986) is “an organized assessment technique which presents individuals acquired skills and knowledge”. Examination malpractice on the other hand has been defined by WAEC (2013) as any irregular behavior exhibited by candidates or anybody charged with the responsibility of conducting examination in or outside the examination hall before, during or after such examination.
Many of these irregular behaviours or misconducts surround examinations and it came to an alarming rate in the last four decades (Oduwaiye, 2006).
Despite the diverse causes of the said monster that had bedeviled the academic sector, some scholars are of the opinion that the hues and cries about examination malpractice which is running rampart at all levels of the Nigerian educational system is nothing but a reflection of the society (Oduwayie 2006), Ijaiye (2011) added that to make matters worse, it is not only the students that are involved in this drastic act, parents, teachers, school heads, examination officials all collide with students to perpetrate this misconduct.
He added that it is the collision between one and more of these agents that makes it difficult to combat.
According to Olasehinde, 1993, Ogunsanju, 1999, Act 33 of 1999, Akpe 2002; Olanipekem, 2003; the various forms of examination malpractices are enormous but due to the nature of this work we shall expressively enumerate few out of the various types.
Forms of Examination Malpractice
i. Impersonation: The according to the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary (6th edition), is simply the act of an individual to pretend to be someone else in order to deceive people. This is effect to examination is a situation where a student or any individual goes into an examination hall in the name of another person in order to attract a better grade for the latter.
ii. Conspiracy and aiding this is according to then a collaborative effort between an examination and the student or among students themselves during or after the examination just to attract better grades to the students involved.
iii. Sorting: This is a situation where students after an examination give money to the examiner to attract favour.
iv. Giraffe: This is the act of a student in an examination hall stretching his neck to the left, right front, or back just to copy what the other person had written.
v. Microsoft: This is situation where a student goes into an examination hall with a manuscript of the course he is writing.
There is a giving concern of stake holders, government officials, non-governmental organizations and the likes or international organizations on the ever increasing rate of examination malpractices in Nigerian University today (Ogunsanju, 1999).
This has become a pertinent issue that needs to be addressed based on it adverse effect on the Nigerian university certificates. This inadvertent concern of people on the said issue has led to the necessity of this research work.
We shall access the factor that causes examination malpractices among undergraduates based on the following:-
i. Socio-economic status
ii. Societal values and emphasis on educational certificate
iii. Moral upbringing
iv. Peer group influence
i. Socio-Economic Status and Undergraduates in Examination Malpractice
Socio-economic status simply means the position of an individual in the society and how the individual viewed in the society based on the individual’s economic achievement and the individual’s social position.
On socio-economic status, it is pertinent we polarize the people in the entire society into a typology of social statuses using synthesis classification of 1958.
The upper Social Class: People in this group/ class are the traditional rulers of first class status as recognized by the Federal Government like the Sultane of Sokoto, the Oba of Benin, Olu of Warri, Oba of Ife etc.
public workers and others of salary grade GL 12/USS/0/GSS9 and above, business men with limited liability companies, military officers of the rank of colonel and their equivalence in other sectors of the Armed forces, judges governors, presidents and legislators etc.
Middle Social Class: The category of people that fall under this are the civil servants within the salary bracket of GL7 and GL II, university and oil workers between USS6 and USS9 and GSS 5 and GSS8 respectively, military officers within the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant-colonel, self-employed workers/petty business men etc.
Lower Social Class – People under this are, salary earners of GL 06 and below, university and oil workers of below USS and GSS 4 respectively, petty traders and other unskilled workers, subsistent farmers e.t.c.
From the above illustrations of Smythic, it is obvious the facts that people at the echelon are very few in the society. They represent relatively one fifth of the entire population. Smythe (1958) added that the class an individual falls into goes a long way determining the individuals’ personality and his/her criminal tendencies.
Egede (1984), while writing on the “Journal of the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria” added that the educational and occupational status of home (parents) positively correlate with students’ academic performance.
This is not in variance to their tendencies to engage in examination malpractice.
The West African Senior School Certificate Examination report of 2003, showed that students from high income group/homes have a positive attitude towards the examination and they thus perform extremely well in the examination unlike their counterparts from low income groups/homes.
Ihrieroma (1997) went further to quote Flond (1956) that the parents financial ability has a significant impact on the kind of academic motivation given to the child during schooling. He went further to say the inability to pay school fees, buying textbooks and provisions of academic materials are all a function of poverty which sources back negatively on the students’ academic altitude, thus the inevitability of examination malpractices.
On Frases (1968) account, there is the genuine believe that an individual who is not fed finds it difficult to concentrate in the classroom while receiving lectures.
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