Background Of The Study
Through education, learners are enlightened, prepared, and appropriately guided to develop relevant skills and expertise, as well as how to adapt to appropriate public life. Education is viewed contextually as a mechanism that enables individuals to grow in line with their aspirations and potentials (Wikipedia, 2021). The early years of schooling are spent building fundamental interpersonal contact and reading skills, after which the emphasis shifts to acquiring the expertise and skills required to create value and sustain a livelihood.
Notably, formal and informal education are also forms of education. Formal education takes place in a controlled environment with the clear goal of instructing pupils. Informal learning takes place in a variety of settings, including after school, in youth programs at community centers, and also in village squares.
In the conventional African educational system, teaching and studying are essentially practical. Students learned orally and through direct observation of tutors. In essence, since society was involved in skill development and practical presentation of the arts studied, no certification were issued to demonstrate completion of a study program. Qualifications were unnecessary since education was viewed as a means to an end rather than a goal in and of itself (Akaranga & Ongong, 2013).
The formal education system, or western knowledge learning system (used in Africa), on the other hand, is measured in terms of degrees. Nonetheless, a certificate is not a convincing proof for adequate knowledge acquisition. However, before the certificate can be issued, the aspirants must be examined or tested in the field in which they are to be qualified for. This sparked the act of conducting examinations, often known as assessments.
Examinations (internal and external) are utilized in Nigeria, as well as other countries, to assess students’ academic achievement and level of assimilation. According to Nnam and Inah (2015), an examination is a yardstick for formally assessing and appraising students’ or candidates’ performance and success in the educational field. Assessment, according to Malik and Shah (1998), as quoted in Akaranga and Ongong (2013), is not only a means of measuring students’ success, but it also motivates and allows them to understand their intellectual abilities and shortcomings, as well as providing teachers with opportunities to explore new teaching methods. However, if an analysis is not completed appropriately, the anticipated reviews will not be acquired. As a consequence, the outcome of such an examination leads to incorrect decisions and judgments that influence tutors, learners, the entire educational system, and the community due to the act of examination malpractice (Ojonemi et al., 2013). The widespread belief that certificates are the only criterion for determining one’s academic worth has resulted in an upsurge in test malpractice and many Nigerians purchasing educational certifications to showcase their academic worth. Examination malpractice in Nigeria predates the country.
Onuka and Amusan (2008) defined examination malpractice as “any dishonest or unauthorized action or deed committed by a student on his own or in collaboration with others, such as fellow students, guardians, parents, teachers, head teacher, examination officials, supervisors, invigilators, security officers, and anyone or group of people before, during, or after an examination,” as cited by Onuka & Durowoju (2013). Despite the enormous and colossal negative repercussions of examination malpractice on tutors, learners, the entire educational system, and society at large, it has spread throughout Nigeria. Because of its widespread use, each exam season sees the emergence of novel and creative methods of cheating (Nnam & Inah, 2015).
There have been several concerns and attempts to provide a long-lasting solution to the act of examination malpractice. In a similar manner, many authors and researchers have put together diverse solutions to exam malpractice. Consequently, most ideas have been negatively influenced and manipulated (Anzene, 2014).
In light of the above, this study appears to be unique as it proposes the use of sensitization of students on the act and implications of exam malpractice as an effective tool for curbing its prevalence in society.
Sensitization, according to the WordPress Dictionary, is the process of becoming highly sensitive to specific events or situations. Contextually, it refers to the act of orientating and bringing to students’ awareness the consequences of examination malpractice on the educational system, academic standards, the labour market, society, and even to themselves as core victims. In other words, it portrays the principle of bringing students’ knowledge of the right or wrong in the examination hall and the punishments attached when caught as a victim of the wrongs. According to Nwadiani (2005), sensitization of students involves also apprising them of the value and functionality of the educational system, its goals as directed at an individual, and goals directed at national educational systems etc. Upon this backdrop, this study is set to analyze the use of sensitization in curbing exam malpractice in Nigeria.
Statement Of The Problem
Examination malpractice has reached frightening magnitude in Nigeria. Previously, students tended to conceal the behavior; nowadays, it is highlighted and applauded (Edeh 2005). The number of so-called special examination centers has expanded. Over the last decade, these centers have been visited by persons who, in exchange for a fee, have access to prospects for examination malpractice in order to gain higher marks that they would not otherwise be entitled to (Adekate,1993). Consequently, the precipitous decline in our educational standards in Nigeria has become alarming, as indicated by the high proportion of non-functional graduates in the country’s workforce (Dioka 2004). The corruption of the education system by both lecturers and students has reached unimaginable depths. Additionally, examination malpractice has stained the educational system and has no bounds, with students, teachers, lecturers, and governing bodies all complicit in this heinous crime. In order to find a solution to this academic pandemic, researchers and authors have proposed a number of methods, including student sensitization. Student sensitization refers to orienting and improving students’ knowledge of the implications of examination malpractice on the educational system, academic standards, the labor market, society, and even on themselves as primary victims. In other words, it depicts the idea of bringing to students the awareness of right and wrong practice in an examination hall, as well as the consequences associated with being caught as a victim of wrongs. However, according to Charles (2016), the act of students’ malpractice sensitization has been disregarded because the main officials who should carryout this activity have been caught up in the act of exam malpractice. This is clear as teachers, lecturers, and governing bodies all took part in this heinous crime. According to Megan (2017), the battle against examination malpractice has not been lost and as such, student sensitization remains one of the most significant strategic solutions. Hence, it can be emphasized that the government is still in the best position to enforce this initiative. This study aims at critically vetting, analyzing, and evaluating the use of sensitization as a means of curbing examination malpractice among senior secondary school students.
Objective Of The Study
The major and perhaps the general aim of this research epistle is to critically examine the use of sensitization as a means of curbing examination malpractice among senior secondary school students in Nigeria. Hence, the study is categorized into four specific objectives.
1) Analyze the causes of examination malpractice among senior secondary school students.
2) Ascertain the implications of examination malpractice.
3) Determine the role of sensitization programmes in curbing examination malpractice among senior secondary school students,
4) Determine if the act of sensitization can reduce the prevalence of examination malpractice among senior secondary school students.
The following questions will guide this study:
1. What are the causes of examination malpractice among senior secondary school students?
2. What are the implications of examination malpractice?
3. What is the role of sensitization programs in curbing examination malpractice among senior secondary school students?
4. Can the act of students’ sensitization reduce the prevalence of examination malpractice among senior secondary school students?
Significance Of The Study
The implementation of the findings and recommendations of this study will not only expose the extent to which students are involved in examination malpractice, but will also suggest some remedies or lasting solutions to this academic dishonesty. This study is also expected to help the government, school administrators, teachers, and guidance counsellors curb or control cheating behaviour in schools. More so, the research will also assist educational planners in improvising drastic measures to curb the act of exam malpractice. More remarkably, this study will be so relevant as it will add to the existing literature on this subject matter.
Scope Of This Study
The study will concentrate more on analyzing the causes of examination malpractice among senior secondary school students, ascertaining the implications of examination malpractice, determining the role of sensitization programs in curbing examination malpractice among senior secondary school students, and determining if the act of sensitization can reduce the prevalence of examination malpractice among senior secondary school students. This study will therefore be limited to selected government secondary schools in Delta State.
Limitation Of The Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
Definition Of Terms
Examination: This is an educational assessment intended to measure a test-taker’s knowledge, skill, aptitude, physical fitness, or classification in many other topics.
Students: A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution and who is under learning with goals of acquiring knowledge, developing professions and achieving easy employment at a particular field.
Examination Malpractice: This is any misconduct or improper practice in any examination with a view to obtaining good results through fraudulent action.