Exam Malpractice: Stumbling Block to Educational Development


Nasiru Suleiman




EDUCATION in Nigeria has suffered so many setbacks ranging from poor or inadequate funding, lack of qualified personnel, poor policies, wrong curriculum, inadequate infrastructure and so many others. Different governments have come and gone with different approaches to education, a lot of critical voices have risen against government approaches to education, but to no avail in the same way that, so many suggestions from different quarters yielded no positive result.


Education, which is a very important tool for nation building is not given the adequate attention it deserves in Nigeria as the sector is not funded adequately, no proper plan and policies that will provide the kind of leadership that is required in the sector to enable us achieve the desired objectives. Teachers’ welfare is not properly taken care of, public schools are left without the basic infrastructure needed to stimulate learning, no proper monitoring and most of the examination bodies are not properly monitored.


One of the biggest threat to the development of education in Nigeria today is the rate at which examination malpractice is gaining ground. Examination malpractice has been embraced by all and sundry in Nigeria, people no longer see it as a crime any longer, both the old and young engage in the crime, people no longer see examination as what you can sit and pass on your own unless you are ‘helped’. This scourge is the order of the day in our primary, secondary, and tertiary institution.


The situation has become so bad that even in our national and local media people go to advertise ‘examination malpractice,’ you see schools calling on students to come and sit for exams in their schools and pass in one sitting. One wonder how do you pass exams by just registering in a school. In fact larger percentage of students sitting for school certificate examination like NECO or WAEC examinations are no longer writing these exams on their own. People go about freely discussing how they cheated or were helped to cheat in an exams in their various centres. In some centres answers are photocopied and given to students to copy while some copy from the black board. Little wonder students with a very ‘good’ result find it difficult to pass ordinary post JAMB examination in our various universities and polytechnics and you will be wondering how this person passed his WAEC or NECO with more than five (5) credits including mathematics and English.


In recent times you see students of public schools running to private schools to register for either WAEC or NECO. When asked why this action, the response you get from them is embarrassing as most of them will tell you they cant afford to fail what is given freely at other centres. Out of curiosity, I tried to find out how students of such private schools pass exams with ease. What I discover is disheartening as examination that is registered originally for between N 5000 and N7000, people pay between N25,000 to N30,000. In fact there are classes of registration in most of these centres, some class are called A-Class, this class is meant for students that desire distinction and they will be assured of getting distinction and people have been getting the distinction. According to some people who have benefitted from this nefarious act, some classes are for those who will not be available at the centres and exams will be written for them, while there is general class for all who will pass with at least Five credits with assurance of passing Mathematics and English, the class you choose to sit determine your result.


Also in most of our high institutions this evil is the order of the day, where people employ various means of passing examinations, some through exporting extraneous materials to the examination hall, which is the old fashion, with the advent of GSM phones and other telecommunication gadgets. A lot of students in our various schools have developed a way of using these gadgets to cheat in an examination. Also other students have develop other means like getting the questions before the examination with the support of their lecturers, some by way of threatening the lecturers perhaps because they are cultists, while some ladies offers their bodies to gain favour from lecturers, this also is a sort of examination malpractice.


One astonishing revelation is that some students take it to the next level by using diabolical means to perpetrate examination malpractice; charms of all sorts are being used by students just to pass exams. The situation is so bad that even teachers, lecturers are caught in this act of examination malpractices.


What could be responsible for this? One wonders why is this evil that is capable of destroying virtually almost all the sectors of the economy is being embraced by all and sundry. So many people have written and warned against the danger of the act, a lot of campaign have been launched against the scourge yet no any positive response.


After some critical examination of the reasons why people engage in malpractice, I came to discover that parents, government, employers and other regulations and examination bodies are to be blamed. Yes, these groups of people have to be blame. The parents who are supposed to provide their children with the right leadership and build the right moral culture in them are the ones encouraging them to take part in this evil. One wonders what has suddenly gone wrong with our value system, as parents now go and look for ‘miracles centres’ for their children to pass exams. In fact even some religious parents like pastors, imams, Deacons, and those who are major stake holders in our churches and mosques are all guilty of this evil. What has eroded our values system, the stupendous moral blindness of Nigerian people today is killing, we no longer see beyond our nose, the general permissiveness by all and sundry, now everything can go in Nigeria and together we are all destroying our foundation like the biblical saying in the book of Psalm 11:3 "If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do?" Our parents, please help us to salvage our future.


Governments in their lackadaisical attitude towards policy formulation and implementation in the sector also are major contributors to this scourge of examination malpractice, the government of Nigeria has not made their stand known to the citizenry on how serious they are to combat the crime. In most cases, government top officials are caught neck-deep in the crime of examination malpractice, the permissive attitude of government in allowing the proliferation of private schools in our major cities and even villages also is a contributing factor to this evil that is militating against our progress in the education sector. I know some people will question how the proliferation of the private schools aid examination malpractice. Yes, most of these private schools are in the business of examination malpractice, because of the stiff competition of getting students to enroll in their schools, the proprietors of these schools go extra length to ensure their students pass examination.


Like I earlier stated, the students from public schools, this day usually run to private schools to sit for examination, and their reasons is that people are passing exams in private schools. Government just allows the setting up of these schools without proper monitoring.


Also government as the major employer of labour is guilty of encouraging examination malpractice by placing more emphasis on paper qualification rather than the knowledge of the work, and when people are in schools they want to strive to attain the standard set by employers and this also encourage examination fraud. Though it is good to set a standard to encourage hardwork, but that standard should not be the only yardstick for employment. Also the inability of government to stop the discrimination between the polytechnic and university graduates has also bred a fertile ground for examination theft, little wonder students employ fraudulent means to pass examination for them to be admitted into the university.


WAEC, NECO, JAMB and other examination bodies in Nigeria also are major players in the perpetration of examination malpractice. One wonders what is the criteria for issuing examination centres to schools. Most of these private schools which WAEC or NECO give centres are haven for the conduct of examination misconduct. We’ve had cases where external WAEC invigilators are bought up and all sorts of nonsense are going on in these centres. What baffles me is the inability of the WAEC to dictate the wrong doing in these centres, because the way the misconduct is carried out will surely leave a trace and can be easily discovered. In some cases WAEC cancels papers in which they suspect something fishy,


WAEC, JAMB, NECO, and other examination organizations are set up to conduct good standard examination for candidates, but the people working in the organization are doing the opposite. WAEC as an institution does not have the mandate of promoting examination malpractice, but some of their officials are doing so. Also government issues licence to operate private schools not for them to promote examination malpractice. But because of unhealthy competition among different private schools owners and decay of the moral standard you see them embracing examination fraud as a surviving strategy.


For we to deal with this scourge, government must take education seriously, deliberate action must be taken, law must be put in place to punish defaulters, programmes and policies should be formulated, policies that will redirect our educational system towards solving our problem, proper monitoring team must be put at work by government to check this evil, the minister of education must show Nigerians that he is serious about developing the sector and also moving the sector forward, the basic infrastructure needed to stimulate learning, the welfare of teachers must not be taken for granted, counselors in our various schools should properly advise our students to choose the right course of study. The cliché of rebranding Nigerian if it is a serious one must start from ensuring the eradication of examination theft and providing an atmospheres that will not be conducive for those who are championing the crusade of examination malpractice.


Also parents have a lot to do by discouraging their children from partaking in examination fraud, examination passed through fraudulent act should not be encouraged, our parents must play their God-given role of breeding children with good morals that will be tomorrow’s leader, parents should know that they have the responsibility of inculcating in their children the right attitude that will help them in the future.


This struggle is for all WAEC, JAMB, NECO, government, proprietors, police and all citizens of Nigeria. Let us fight examination malpractice, let us report all cases of examination fraud and parents must not push their children to courses that are not their choice. If the right thing is done, the right result will be achieved.




SULEIMAN NASIRU Is a 400 level  students of Business Administration and Management Studies from Federal Polytechnic Idah, Kogi State and lives in  No 1b Rimi Road off Rimi Drive Ungwan Rimi Kaduna