Education is an instrument for national development. In Nigeria, before the 1840s there was in existence a system of education. This was broadly traditional, occupationally oriented and informal apprenticeship system. This type of education as at that time was quite relevant to the needs of the society. However, examinations play vital role not only in our educational system but also in the society as a whole. In the Nigerian school system various forms of examinations are noticed. These are the entrance examinations, the terminal and promotion examinations, the senior school certificate examination and degree or diploma examinations. Students are required to pass any form of examination they partake in for the purpose of assessing and evaluating their ability and cognitive skills. Also, due to the reason that success in a particular level of examination often times serve as a requirement for promotion for further education. This makes student find various means of achieving success in these examinations and one of such ways is by cheating in examinations.
Examination has been recognized as forming the nucleus of education with the principal aim of assessing how much learning has taken place and to what extent the educational goals and objectives have been achieved. It is assumed that without examination, education will be incomplete since there may be no avenue for assessment. Examination malpractice is one of the serious problems plaguing Nigeria system of education today coupled with intellectual dishonesty. The fact remains that examination malpractice has become a usual practice in Nigeria with almost every person being involved in one or the other. The incidence of cheating in examinations is multidimensional in nature (Onyekwelu, 2005).
Cheating in examinations has changed the habits and attitudes of students towards examination, before, during or after examinations. Cheating in examination which is also known as examination malpractice, is an act of not keeping to examination ethics and the violation of rules and regulations of the conduct of examinations (Ekpe, 2004). Cheating in examination is a common practice everywhere and every examination season witnesses the emergence of new and ingenious ways of cheating. Though cheating is neither a recent phenomenon nor is it peculiar to Nigeria or Africa, the alarming rate of increase is a global issue (Awanbor, 2005).
Cheating in examinations started before the early 70s, the situation became worse in1977 when mass cheating was first perpetrated in WAEC examination resulting in public outcry on the credibility of examinations then in Nigeria. In the 1990s, the act became a dangerous epidemic because it spread in a great proportion to every level of the educational institution in the country (Opata, 2003).
The menace of examination malpractice is quite old in Nigeria. In the words of Olushola (2006) the brief history of examination malpractice in Nigeria according to historical records is traceable to the year as far back as 1914, when there was a leakage of question paper into senior Cambridge Local Examination. However, some people traced the history of this menace to the wave of cancellation of Nigeria Matriculation Examination the then “Yaba” Nigeria Technical in 1984. Cheating in examination is a manifestation of dishonest attitude. It is a deliberate act of commission made by a candidate, single−handedly or in collaboration with others, to obtain a better grade than he is capable of obtaining. This is not new and is not peculiar to specific schools (Isanghedihi, 1988). It is a negative tendency that has eaten deep into the substance of the examination system. Due to increase in the cases of cheating in examinations, it has not only constituted a deviant behaviour, but has also affected the validity of examination results and certificates issued to candidates concerned (Onyehalu, 2006).
According to Ohuche (2000), the school principals and administrators contribute to students’ negative attitude towards cheating in examination because some of the school principals and administrators direct staff to fraudulently assist students during examinations, since their promotion sometimes depends on the percentage of students that excel in examinations.
There has been much outcry on the issue of examination malpractice and the fall of the standard of Education in Nigeria. A lot of questions have been raised as to what factors are responsible for this and what sustains examination malpractice in the education sector from primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education. However, it has been observed that students no longer consider hardwork as a prerequisite for success but tend to substitute it with examination malpractice inorder to succeed. Parents are not exonerated from the blame of instigating cheating as some parents do all they can to make sure that their children pass their examinations. Teachers who are not well equipped in terms of training contribute to examination malpractice in schools. Non-payment of teachers salary as at when due and grant of allowances also facilitate examination malpractice on part of the teachers who try hard to make ends meet even out of greed and bribery. Government policies regarding education and politics and employing non-qualified teachers who are relatives of government officials jeopardize the progress of the country’s education sector.
Special centres owned by school heads for special candidates which ought not to be constitute examination malpractice in schools. On the part of security agents, they are not left out as most of them open question papers on their way before the actual examination day and sell to prospective candidates and parents of students this result in a breach of effective security which may be responsible for examination malpractice.
Hiko (2008) asserts that the issue of examination malpractice is quite disheartening considering the prominence assumed by the act in the school system. He points out that the phenomenon has become a source of concern to stakeholders since almost every person in one way or the other contribute to examination malpractice. In line with the problems identified this study sought to investigate on the factors that are responsible for examination malpractice among students in selected secondary schools in Uyo metropolis and proffer possible remedy to the factors that will be identified in the course of the study.
The broad objective of the study is to ascertain the factors that are responsible for examination malpractice in secondary schools in Uyo metropolis, Akwa Ibom State. The broad objective is in the following specific objectives.
Based on the afore−stated objectives of the following study, the following research questions are addressed in this study
The following research hypotheses were formulated and will be subsequently tested in the course of the study