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How examination malpractice is destroying Nigeria’s education system

Demand for education at all levels in Nigeria is increasing with the expansion of the country’s population. However, several malpractices threaten quality education delivery.Folaranmi Ajayi writes on how examination malpractice is increasing and destroying Nigeria’s education system.
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Examination malpractice is a major problem that is currently plaguing Nigeria’s education system. This practice has become rampant and pervasive, and it is affecting the quality of education and the integrity of the educational system in the country.

Statistics showed that in 2018, out of 1,572,396 candidates that sat for the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), 102,058 results were withheld over exam malpractice, while in 2019, out of 1,590,173 candidates, 180, 205 results were seized; while 215,149 results out of 1,538,445 candidates that sat for 2020 examination were withheld.

“Hardly do you find any student getting ready for the forthcoming certificate examinations especially those in the private and public secondary schools because majority despite teaching and various learning, school owners, teachers and examination officials will encourage and help students to cheat during exams,” Oladele, teacher and education consultant, lamented how examination malpractice is becoming a norm in public and private schools in Nigeria.

Exam Malpractices
A student dubbing already solved question.

“The economy is biting hard more than before and examination malpractice is a quick fix. You get more money in a few days because everyone wants to cut corners,” he said.

Between 2018 and 2019, the incidence of examination malpractice during the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) rose to 77 percent. In 2020, it went up again by a 19.4 percent margin, while in 2021; there was a decline of 10.9 percent of the incidences of examination malpractice during WASSCE.

However, for candidates that sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), of the 1.7million candidates in 2017, 79,123 results were withheld; 111,981 out of 1,652,825 candidates that sat for the examination in 2018 were withheld.

In 2019, more than 1, 826, 839 sat for the exam, but reports of malpractices, including an allegation that a particular candidate registered more than 60 times to do mercenary examination for different candidates caused the body to delay the release of the results. Also, about 75 centres were penciled down for punishment for compromising the examination. About 34,120 results were withheld for malpractices, including 15,145 for further clarification.

According to a report dated September 15, 2022, published on BusinessDay, WAEC has stated that mass examination malpractice was the reason for the mass seizure of results of the 2022 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Patrick Areghan, head at the national office of WAEC revealed this while discrediting press reports that the apex examination body deliberately withheld the results of candidates that participated in the examination. The issues are endless,should this educational menace be allowed to continue?

What is Examination Malpractice?

Examination malpractice refers to any act of dishonesty or cheating that is aimed at obtaining an unfair advantage in an examination or test. Some of the common forms of examination malpractice include cheating, plagiarism, impersonation, and the use of unauthorised materials during an examination.

It has not only affected the quality of education in the country but also damaged the credibility of the entire education system. The effects of examination malpractice on Nigeria’s education system are significant and far-reaching, and they continue to undermine the country’s development efforts.

The Effects of Examination Malpractice

Examination malpractice is a serious problem that is destroying Nigeria’s education system in several ways. Firstly, it undermines the integrity of the system. When students engage in examination malpractice, it makes it difficult to determine who has truly earned their grades and who has not.

This means that the educational system is no longer based on merit and hard work, but on dishonesty and cheating. This, in turn, affects the value of certificates and degrees that are awarded by Nigerian institutions.

Secondly, examination malpractice lowers the standard of education in Nigeria. When students engage in malpractice, they are not learning the skills and knowledge that they need to succeed in their future careers. Instead, they are simply memorizing information and regurgitating it during exams. This means that they are not developing critical thinking skills or the ability to solve complex problems, which are essential for success in the modern world.

exam malpractice 1200x675 1
A student involved in exam malpractice

Thirdly, examination malpractice creates a culture of dishonesty and corruption in Nigeria. When students learn that cheating is an acceptable way to get ahead, they are more likely to engage in other forms of dishonesty in their personal and professional lives. This creates a cycle of corruption that undermines the rule of law and weakens the institutions of the country.

Read also: FG condemns rising cases of examination malpractices in schools

Also, examination malpractice makes it difficult for Nigerian graduates to compete in the global job market. Employers are looking for graduates who have the skills and knowledge to succeed in their chosen fields. When Nigerian graduates are unable to demonstrate these skills and knowledge because they have been engaged in malpractice, they are at a disadvantage when it comes to job opportunities.

Secondary School Students Speak on Examination Malpractice

“I know the truth is bitter but come to think of it I have not really seen a school that is entirely different and doesn’t engage in examination malpractice. In my school here in Ilupeju, Lagos,students are asked to pay logistics fee. This fee covers examination malpractice and other extortion fee.”

Adeola Falana (not real name) a student of Queensway college, Ilupeju, Lagos state, lamented that almost all the schools in the axis participate in examination malpractice and none can be purged clean of this educational menace.

She added, “I have seen a scenario where students who don’t pay are seriously dealth with. Some delayed from starting the exams at the same time as other candidates and others forced to pay.”

Another student explained that senior secondary school certificate examination in her school has been turned to class work where teachers solve answers on the board for students to copy.

“I was in Imo state before I relocated to Lagos because of my uncle and the death of my mother affected my education but with what I have seen in Lagos, it is very shameful.”

A teacher in Mushin Local Government who doesn’t want name imprint told Edugist that almost all the private schools within the axis use examination malpractice as a means of making money during examination period.

“I have worked with more than ten schools around even the defunct Bosom College, Mushin, I must confess schools in this area and most areas in Lagos make more money during examination periods through examination malpractice.”

Also, a students claimed exam officials both WAEC and the National Examination Council (NECO) are always working together except for a very few who are stern against examination malpractice.

“The officials are proving helping hands and they are the one allowing examination malpractice to thrive.”

Read also: Examination Malpractice: BUK Senate Approves Expulsion of 27 Students, Suspends Eight Others

Reactions to Examination Malpractice by state government

In 2021 the Lagos state government fined 27 private schools N13.5 million as part of punishments for being involved in examination malpractices during the 2020 Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) which was conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).Each of the affected school was to pay N500,000.

This decision was contained in a statement issued by the Office of the Education Quality Assurance (OEQA) of the state’s ministry of education.

The statement reads in part; “In another investigative panel led by the Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA) Mrs Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, 27 schools indicted by the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) for general examination malpractice were fined up to N500,000 that is payable to the state government’s coffers following the conclusion of the investigations.”

In 2022 in Oyo state the 2022 Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) under the purview of West African Examination Council (WAEC) may have come and gone but the statistics of students’ performance and schools involved in examination misconducts across states will continue to resurface for years to come.

In March 2020, Anambra State Government announced the closure of 12 private schools in the state for engaging in alleged irregularities, including examination malpractices. The state Commissioner for Basic Education, Kate Omenugha, disclosed this in an interview with journalists on Awka. Omenugha also said the schools did not have requisites for conducive teaching and learning; such requirements as facilities and qualified teachers.

Finally, examination malpractice is a major problem that is destroying Nigeria’s education system. It undermines the integrity of the educational system, lowers the standard of education, and creates a culture of dishonesty. Should this educational menace continue? No!

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Oluwakemi Awoyale
Oluwakemi Awoyale
2 months ago

As much as I love this piece. We kick so much against Examination malpractice in my school and I challenge edugist to do more findings and digging. I must agree the writer did a fantastic job and has captured the real situation. Like my school, we are also in Ilupeju and we don’t do malpractice. Thanks,Edugist. I have been following you guys and I commend the reporters.

Oluwakemi Awoyale
Oluwakemi Awoyale
2 months ago

Let me also add that! I will love to have a one to one conversation with the reporter. Cheers!

Elvis Boniface
2 months ago

Certainly! Send us a mail at"> and we’ll schedule.

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