Cheating involves real, intended, or attempted deception and/or dishonest action in relation to any academic work in an institution. It can also be called academic dishonesty.Examination malpractices have consistently remained a bane of Nigerian educational system. Most foreigners say that the academic certificates being issued to graduates in Nigeria are no more valuable than the pieces of paper on which they are printed.
So what is examination malpractice? Examination malpractice is an illegal behavior by a candidate before, during or after the examination so that he/she can attain success easily and cheaply. Hence, the worth of the examination is violated.
The major causes of examination malpractices are:
i. Laziness of students: Seriousness is thrown to the wind by many students. Most of them have little time for their studies. They spend their time attending parties and forming gangs who engage in untoward behaviour.
ii. Second is large population of students in many schools. The few who do very well may be promoted or admitted into higher institutions. Students cheat therefore to excel over their mates.
iii. Many students are desperate; thinking that passing the examination is a do or die affair; They want to excel by all means. Some want promises from parents fulfilled Others want to be on TV or Newspaper as the best in one form of examination or the other (though cheats hardly excel).
iv. Syllabuses in many subjects such as Physics, Chemistry etc. are wide and difficult for teachers to cover. The school period is shortened by holidays, shift system and late resumption by students.
v. Another cause of examination malpractice is inadequate preparation for exams. In a number of schools the teachers are few and specialized ones are fewer so students are not adequately prepared for the examinations.
vi. Corrupt invigilators and supervisors: the students know that if they offer bribe to the invigilators. they will be allowed to cheat in the examination hall.
vii. Lastly, there is a general trend in our society towards cheating and this is encouraged by almost all members of the society.The evil effects of examination malpractices cannot be overemphasize. Creativity and resourcefulness are hampered. It wreaks great havoc on the social, religious, economic and political lives of Nigerians.
Some Possible Solutions to Examination Malpractices are:
i. Teachers should he trained properly in their fields.
ii. Holidays may be more in number but reduced in length as students are reluctant to resume from long holidays.
iii. Guidance Counselors should be employed in all schools to guide the students on study habits, career prospects and needs for various careers.
iv. Continuous assessment should be practiced correctly. It will cut examination malpractices as 40% of marks are accumulated from various assessment techniques such as projects and assignments before actual examinations.
v. The number of invigilators and supervisors should be increased in the exam halls. Exam officers, Vice Principals and Principals should occasionally pay visits to exam halls to see what is going on.
vi. The students should be thoroughly searched before entering the hall. Apart from photographs, finger prints on certificates should he used for identification.
In conclusion, solutions are only possible where there are Examination Halls, large classrooms, adequate seats and adequate number of teachers in a school. The government can play a very big role in curbing this menace by providing enough classrooms, desks and employing qualified teachers. And also, during an examination, the school should make sure that each student gets his/her own question paper and provide enough invigilators. The Federal government has established an Exam Ethics Committee, all State Government and Local Government Councils should do the same thing.