Conventionally, examinations are regarded as a method of assessment of students who have gone through one level of education or another at the end of a term, semester or instructional year.
However, among other disturbing developments which the industry is experiencing in the country nowadays, the incidence of examination malpractices in the Nigerian educational neco expo system is a cardinal one that is fast assuming a level of national and international embarrassment and dangerous dimension. It is a damaging plague, which if not cured soon, may destroy the nation’s all-important education sector.
Examination malpractices are generally described as wrongdoings before, during or after examinations. And, without mincing words, these are having telling, uncomfortable side effects on the state’s quality of education, just as many school leavers and graduates can no longer defend their certificates. As threatening as this endemic trend can take place, urgent measures need to be implemented for the cankerworm not to destroy the nation’s future completely in a little while: it’s too critical to be neglected. And, this is certainly, another cogent reason Nigeria needs meaning renaissance and value regeneration in all issues with its national life.
How does one describe what an examination malpractice is? According to Nwana (2000), examination malpractice is described as the “massive and unprecedented abuse of rules and regulations pertaining to internal and public examinations, beginning from the setting of such examinations through the taking of the examinations, their marking and grading, to the release of the results and the issuance of certificates. “
In a similar vein, an instructional has used another description of this unbridled phenomenon as “the act of omission or commission intended to generate a student pass examination without counting absolutely on his/her independent ability or resources. “
Certain research findings, results, instructive and informed submissions of educationalists, academics, and other top stakeholders in this special sector of the state’s economy, however, have indicated that there had been one form of examination malpractice or the other before since in the early 1970s when “mass cheating was first perpetrated in WAEC” (West African examinations Council).
Perhaps, this realisation jolted the examination body at the second school level to examine critically, various manifestations and extent of this retrogressive tendency. It reportedly, categorised the different forms of examination malpractice as including attracting foreign materials to exam halls, unpredictable activities inside and outside examination halls, collusion, impersonation, leakage, mass cheating and insult/assault on supervisors during exams.
Other forms of exam malpractices identified by WAEC include assistance of candidates by invigilators to answer or have clue to difficult concepts, while some invigilators also go to the extent of answering some parts of the question for candidates, aside from other forms as “giraffing, contraband, bullet, super print, escort, missiles, and pregnant biros. “
Nonetheless, what has happened to the emergency of the place’s education system from that period till this day? Unfortunately, in the continued 21st Century, examination malpractices of varying sorts, forms and manifestations, incontrovertibly, have worsened and be accepted as a national problem. The unbecoming tendency voraciously, continues to eat deep into the social fabric, right from primary schools to tertiary institutions of learning across the Nigerian Federation. It is no wonder then, that the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), of recent, passionately asked the National Assembly to declare a state of emergency in the education sector so as to consciously renovation the lost glory of the once booming industry.
While many stakeholders in the sector yet, believe that the prevalent malaise the education sector is not only perpetrated by the students alone, but also with the active connivance of other stakeholders, including teachers, security agents, exam invigilators, printers, supervisors, and the like, exam malpractices have equally been described by some in the know of the pervasiveness of the frustrating trend as “perennial and institutionalised multibillion Naira business”, on which some depraved individuals, groups and institutions feed fat in the country as of now.