For a significant number of years, Nigeria has been facing alarming forms of malpractices that is being perpetuated in the conduct of examinations at almost all levels of its educational institutions. In effect of this, credibility in certification exams has been declining significantly.
According to Fagbemi (1998) government functionalities, school authorities, invigilators, examiners, parents and students are all seen to be perpetrators of such a malpractice (p.13).
In effect of this, examination malpractice in the country have paved the way for a significant percentage of the Nigerian population, most especially among the sophisticated part of the social strata to question papers from examination bodies or bank officials wherein question papers have been provided to them for safe keeping (Balogun 1999, p. 110).
The act of education malpractice in Nigeria becomes more complicated as some parents were reportedly purchasing question papers from examination bodies or bank officials. Other than this, multiple registrations of candidates are also seen; and these incidences go as far as female examinees inserting their pictures in their examination scripts with self-addressed envelopes, implying a willing invitation from examiners (Ene and Ursula, 1998, p. 15-18).
Syndicates have also been capitalizing in the practice as there have been special centers which are reported to write the examination for candidates themselves through coordination of various officials from exam bodies’ with the help of corrupt school administrators.
Some students also pay huge amounts of money to school administrators and examination officers just to allow them cheat in the examination hall (Fagbemi, 1998, p.16).
A number of private schools as well have been reported to sponsor examination malpractice in order to attain a high percentage pass at credit level exams such as the Nigerian Senior Secondary School Examination (SSCE) and Junior School certificate Examination (JSCE) (Balogun 1999, p.111).
In effect of these malpractices the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) introduced a number of changes in the question numerations varying for every candidate, which in effect turned out to low examination results within the University Matriculation Examination (UME); albeit, another turn-around was devised by syndicates, hence paving the way for the JAMB examination to be unreliable as well (Fagbemi, 1998, p. 14).
Examination malpractice in the country has already reached a significant percentage.
For instance, the University of Abuja already had 41 out of 44 students expelled in September of last year due to examination offenses. In 2007 as well, 232 individuals were already blacklisted due to their participation for the leakage in the exam that was organized by National Examination Council (NECO), West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), National Business and Technical Education Board (NABTEB) and National Teachers Institute (NTI).
These individuals were school principals, supervisors, invigilators and examiners (Balogun 1999, p.12). In the same year on the month of February, the federal government of Nigeria had announced that 324 schools were already closed and would no longer serve as centers for public examinations due to documented incidence of malpractice as well (Ene and Ursula, 1998, p. 20).
Purpose of the Research
The purpose of the research is to provide detailed information as to the malpractice of Nigerian educators, students, government officials and parents that paved the way for the perpetration of cheating within national certification exams; and at the same time provide alternatives based on the principles of effective educational leadership in order to improve the disposition of educational institutions in Nigeria.
The study will be focusing on the inconsistencies of government policies that paved the way to the difficulty of implementing a sound program promoting honesty among certification exams. The study will also be focusing on both internal and external factors that cause malpractice.
For instance, the issue of the non-implementation of educational policies for educators that supposedly can bring higher morale among educators and consequently financial stability that would somehow lessen their inclination to be bribed or conduct various malpractices in exams will be discussed.
The lack of employee motivation and weak accountability for educational leadership will be discussed, while external factors such as teacher shortages and corruption will also be presented (Sachs, et.al., 2004, p. 11-12).
The decline of morale of educators, the continuous brain drain phenomenon in the country or the flight of talented Nigerians to other countries, the role of poverty, the ill-equipped libraries, violence, cultism, and the explosion of student enrolment will also be presented.Forms of examination malpractices will be presented as well; together with the individuals that are often involved such as parents, teachers, students, government officials and institutions (Aina, 1993; Bunza, 1993).
After all of these factors are expounded, the role of educational leadership such as transformative education will be presented (Obikeze, 2003). The research will show that through the role of transformative education or a process of remolding or reconfiguration of the existing state of affairs, the educational paradigm of Nigeria will be changed.
In addition, the study will also present the role of refocusing and re-energizing of the institutional framework of education that will pave the way for more competitive educators, intelligent, honest and competitive students, honest and government and non-government institutions, together with the students’ respective families (Obikeze, 2003).
For the purpose of this research, the study will also be elaborating of Nwagwu’s (1998) critical areas of reform in secondary education such as quality of primary school teachers relative to the student ratio; the secondary school curriculum, together with the facilities and materials that are being used.
Time utilization and management of the aforementioned, backed with discipline and character formation among students, and finally other material factors that could help in improving the learning dynamics of students such as boarding houses, recreational facilities and various type of scholarships and arrangements (Nwagwu, 1998, pp.10-21).
The role of decentralization is also vital in terms of educational development and will be presented in the research as part of educational leadership theoretical background.
Decentralization will pave the way for the privatization of state-run activities that will involve the use of performance assessments and results-based management as a means to exert state influence while still allowing various areas vital for decision making (UNESCO, 2006).