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Background to the Study

Education is a fundamental human right which functions to develop the talents of individuals to the fullest. The United Nations International Cultural and Educational Fund, UNICEF (2010) noted that when children of any nation have access to quality education, such a nation could claim to create a ripple effect of opportunity that may impact many generations to come. Formal education is organized into pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary education components.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN,1998:16) in her National Policy on Education defined secondary education as the form of education children receive after primary education and before the tertiary stage. Ogbonnaya (2009) put it as the form of education children receive after they have received primary school education.

Education at all levels and examinations are inseparable, and the importance of examination cannot be over emphasized. Examination according to Webster’s Dictionary (2008) refers to an exercise designed to examine progress or test qualification or knowledge. It has remained a potent instrument for judgment of

knowledge acquired (Joshua, 2011). It can be deduced that for education to be seen to have taken place, the students who are the recipients of such education are expected to have attained a certain standard through evaluation process. According to Omolabi (2004), examination has been the basic characteristic of the school system all over the world. He emphasized that it can be regarded as a requirement upon which the most important decisions about the progress of the teachers, school administrators and all stakeholders in the educational system are based.

Educational administration is the process by which an administrator directs and controls scarce human and material resources in the school system in order to achieve the desired goals and objectives (Ezeocha, 1990). Educational administration is also seen as a service, activity or tool through which the fundamental objectives of the education process may be more fully or efficiently realized (Ogbonnaya, 2009). Secondary school administration is faced with several challenges. Adeyemi (2008) identified the existence of inadequate facilities, low staff morale and poor supervision of schools as some of the problems in the secondary school administration in Nigeria. Uwakwe (2012) revealed five more administrative problems which secondary school administration encounters. These include; parental problems, staff problems, district problems, inadequate funding and unstable government policies. Comparing the various administrative problems which secondary school administration encounters, Nwana  in Ezeocha (1990) observed that cheating at public examinations is much more prevalent than it is officially reported and accounts for why principals consider it much a threat to school administrators.

In defining examination malpractice, attempts have been made by experts to define it from various perspectives. Ike (1996) defined examination malpractice as any action done or committed which makes it impossible to use an examination in determining the level of competence of a candidate in absorbing, reproducing, and where appropriate, apply the knowledge. This means that any act of wrong doing or neglect that contravenes the role of acceptable practice is tantamount to examination malpractice. Others see examination malpractice as a corrupt practice. This is supported by Olayinka (1993) who defined examination malpractice as a misconduct or improper practice in any examination with a view to obtaining good results through fraudulent action.

According to Oluyeba and Daramola (1992); examination malpractice is an irregular behaviour exhibited by candidates or anybody charged with the conduct of examination in or outside the examination hall before, during or after such examinations. Ahmed (1993) believed that an examination malpractice is any act of wrong doing or neglect that contravenes the rules of acceptable practices before, during and after an examination by any body in any way. In another light, examination malpractice is seen as the outworking of greed from within an examinee and as influenced from without by corrupt practices and agents with a view to succeeding through crooked means before, during or after examination.

The examination malpractice in West Africa School Certificate Examination (WASCE) christened “Expo” was born into Nigeria in 1970 during W.A.S.C examination (Ezeocha, 1990: 147). According to him, three major types of unethical behaviours usually engaged in by the candidates have been identified. They include illegal use of examination papers, leakage of examination papers, and impersonation at examination. The manifestation and incidences of examination malpractices in Nigeria are obvious.

On the national setting, studies have been conducted on examination malpractices in secondary schools in Nigeria. The problem of examination malpractices in Nigeria seems to be as old as the introduction of formal system of education (Afigbo, 1993). The first major incidents of examination malpractices occurred when the Senior Cambridge local examinations of 1977, 1981 and 1987 leaked (Olujuwon, 1999). The effects of examination malpractices are enormous as seen below.

The head of the Nigerian National Office of WAEC recently announced the release of the May/June 2012 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) result. According to the officer, results of a total of 122,000 candidates, representing 6.70 percent were being withheld in connection with cases of examination malpractices which were being investigated (The Business Day 10th August, 2012). Asuru (2004) had earlier reported that Adamawa State occupied the 23rd position among all the 36 states in Nigeria  in examination malpractice, as determined by the Examination Malpractice Index (EMI), and ranked 29th in WAEC May/June rating of states for the decade (1993 – 2002) in examination malpractice.

The repercussions of examination malpractice thriving in the public secondary schools are enormous not only on the students but also on the larger society. It’s obvious that the hope of transforming the nation politically, socially and economically will be threatened when individuals chose to succeed through examination malpractice. Agbu (2009) asserted that the alarming and seemingly endless series of scandalous homes, businesses, society and even religion may not be unconnected with the fact that the first generation of fraudsters who  must have perpetrated examination malpractice have come of age and are now in leadership positions. Examination malpractices have consistently remained a venom of Nigerian educational system.

Another adverse effect of examination malpractice is the fate of one who decides to succeed through examination malpractice. It can be said that success achieved through examination malpractice is best described as bad success. This is because according to Agbu (2009), success built on sound moral foundation can endure but success built on fraud are bound to collapse sooner or later. The evil effects of examination malpractice are endless. Creativity and resourcefulness are hampered (Hadiza, 2008). In another light, Ezeocha (1990) went on to add that majority of the certificates obtained by candidates these days to say the least are not merited by their holders. This is bound to produce incompetent graduates who will offer substandard services consequently affecting the lives of the masses.

Literature reveals some attempts to stem the occurrence and consequences of examination malpractice, particularly in Adamawa State; for instance, Abdullahi (2009) observed that in dealing with examination malpractice matters, the fault may not be that of the students alone, but other sources, including educational institutions. Within this context, some institutional attempts have been made to check examination malpractice. For example, Government Day Secondary School in Vunoklang, Girei L.G.A and Government Day Secondary School Damare in Yola South L.G.A both in Adamawa State were banned as centres for public examination because the Federal Ministry of Education (2007) Examination malpractice Blacklist Report indicted them on examination malpractice.

Recently, in Adamawa State also, two teachers were dismissed for altering examination results. The school administrator disclosed that the sacked teachers were involved in examination malpractices, a punishable offence (Yinka Heritage 31st August, 2012). In another effort to forestall future occurrence of examination malpractice; the federal government promulgated Decree No. 20 of 1984 and later, Decree No. 33 of 1999 which is being enforced by the Adamawa State government.

Further measures which have been taken in recent times by the Adamawa State government to eradicate examination malpractice is through the implementation of the National Economic Empowerment Development Strategies (NEEDS) policy document which targets 40% reduction in examination malpractice annually (Udoh, 2011).

Yet, with all these measures examination malpractice still thrives unabated which are strong reasons to believe that the root causes have not been properly identified and addressed, hence the persistent nature of the problem. Within this context, it is suspected that some administrative factors may be responsible for the persistence of this problem, vis-à-vis, school administrative related factors, invigilator-related factors, and external examination bodies:

As regards school administrative-related factors, the authority of secondary school principal is viewed both in the position he occupies as well as the functions he performs in school administration. He develops and implements the educational programmes of the school and procures staff. Also, he provides facilities and equipment, keeps schools records in addition to creating a conducive teaching and learning atmosphere in schools, Ogbonnaya (2009).

The functions that the school administrator performs are summed up by Mgbodile in Ocho (1997) into five main areas, namely; management of instructional programme, staff personnel administration, student personnel administration and finance and physical resource management.

As regards staff of schools administrative factors responsible for examination malpractice, Olujunwon (1999) revealed that inadequate qualified teachers do cause examination malpractice. Asuru (2004) opined that, its not unusual in some cases for final year students, clerks and messengers to be engaged in examination supervision in some schools. These people do not know the techniques of examination supervision, he lamented.

As regards students-personnel administrative factors, Ogbonnaya (2009) has shown that where students are not given adequate disciplinary orientation, they are bound to exhibit indisciplanary tendencies in any available situation. El-Rufai (2006) corroborated this observation by stating that most secondary school administrators have problem with stern implementation and enforcement of rules and regulations good enough to curtail students’ excesses, hence indiscipline continue to thrive in such schools.

Information communication technology (ICT) and infrastructural comes under the physical resource management by the school administrator. In the case of infrastructural-related factors, Udoh (2011) has given account that lack of educational facilities do contribute significantly to the problem of examination malpractice in the Nigerian Education system. Ahmed (2003) in harmony revealed that in most of the nation’s secondary schools, teaching and learning takes place under a most unconducive environment, lacking the basic materials such as class rooms, adequate examination halls and thus hindered the fulfillment of educational objectives.

Regarding Information Communication Technology (ICT) related factors, the emergence of technological devices has spawned new and more sophisticated approaches to dishonest conduct during examinations.  A lot of academic information, according to Olatunbosun (2009) is stored in handsets for direct use in examination halls or for onward transfer via Short Message Service (SMS) to other students any where in the country. The school administration has a role to check the use of these ICT facilities in order not to perpetrate examination malpractice.

Invigilators-related factors responsible for the persistence of examination malpractices in public secondary schools according to Asuru (2004) are associated largely with the perpetrators of examination malpractice. It is on record that some schools entertain invigilators from money contributed by students to aid and abate examination malpractices, Ogbonnaya (2009). Therefore when the school management decide to influence invigilators negatively malpractices in examination become inevitable.

The present day system of education according to Ogbonnaya (2009), provides opportunity for parents to participate fully in the training of their children at school. Therefore when parents are given a place in the administration of schools in views of PTA Contributions towards the attainment of set educational goals and objectives the more effective it is.  Uwakwe (2012) added that there should be more of parental involvement in secondary school administration; after all it’s their children that attend these secondary schools. A Newswatch report (July 29, 2002), citing the Registrar of JAMB said that apart from the role played by the candidates during examinations, their parents also play a greater part in helping them to cheat. He said that this include personally writing the examinations for them, hiring mercenaries, buying examination question papers for them and paying examination officials so that original scores could be converted to much higher scores,  some parents as a result of poverty in the society are forced to indulge in such unethical acts.

Government-related factors do contribute to the sustenance of examination malpractice also. Joshua (2011) reported that government at various levels do contributes indirectly to encourage examination malpractice in areas of poor condition of service to staff. Teachers are very poorly paid and so often engage in long strikes which results in pupils/students staying more at home than being in schools, yet they have to face public examinations.

Pertaining to the External Examination Bodies, Ogbonnaya (2009) disclosed that some WAEC invigilators collect money from principals and head teachers. This is an improper practice exhibited by examination bodies charged with the responsibility of conducting valid and reliable evaluation. All these highlighted factors are suspected to cause the persistence of examination malpractices in public secondary schools in Adamawa State.

According to the new Webster dictionary (2008), persistence connotes continuation. It means, continuing to exist in spite of interference or treatment. Ezeocha (1990) pointed out that examination malpractice is an unethical behavior and have continued unabated in spite of the fact that the Nigerian Government promulgated the Examination Decree making such behaviours illegal. He added that this persistent problem has made nonsense of the secondary education in Nigeria. This study therefore sought to identify the administrative causes of the persistent examination malpractices and articulate solutions.




Statement of the Problem

Literature is replete with evidences of the effects of examination malpractice. Creativity and resourcefulness are hampered. Incompetent graduates are produced who will offer substandard services consequently affecting the lives of the masses. Cancellation and withholding of results, de-recognizing of schools as centres, promulgation of Examination Decree, sacking of teachers are few among the several efforts made by the Nigerian Government and Adamawa State to contend with Examination malpractice. Yet with all these efforts the menace still thrives. This poses a great challenge to the achievement of the goals and objectives of secondary education in Nigeria and Adamawa State in particular, as stated in the National Policy on Education. This study therefore sets out to address two key questions: what administrative factors are responsible for the persistence of examination malpractice in secondary schools in Adamawa State? What measures can be put in place for containing the menace? It is hoped that the study will articulate a permanent solution to this clog in secondary school administration in the state.




Purpose of the study

The general purpose of this study is to identify the administrative factors that sustain examination malpractice in public secondary schools in Adamawa State, as well as the measures for addressing them.

Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. Identify school administrative-related factors responsible for the persistent examination malpractice in public secondary schools in Adamawa State.
  2. Determine invigilators-related factors accounting for the persistent examination malpractice in public secondary schools in Adamawa State.
  3. Find out extent external examination bodies are responsible for the persistent examination malpractice in public secondary schools in Adamawa State.
  4. Suggest measures for overcoming the persistent examination malpractice in public secondary schools in Adamawa State.

Significance of the Study

The Post Primary School Management Board (PPSMB), Yola will benefit from this study because of the moral theory adopted by David Hume a British Empiricist Philosopher (1711 – 1776). When this theory is introduced into PPSMB, Yola, it will help to instill discipline and high moral excellence.

The findings of this study would ensure valuable benefits to the ministries of education, parents, teachers, students, examination bodies and the society at large.

The education stakeholders especially Federal and State Ministries of Education will find this work useful for effective planning and supervision of examination. The Planning Units of the State Ministries of Education, for example, collect, collate and interpret periodically, educational data needed for realistic forecasts and planning. The findings of this study will therefore provide valuable educational data needed for these forecasts and planning.

Success achieved through examination malpractice is best described as a bad success. Parents and guardians with this work will see the need to counsel their wards to aspire for good success which comes by hard work and prudence.

Teachers’ coverage of content and pupils’ academic achievements are significantly related. To avoid the stigma of failure with its resultant ego deflation, some examinees indulge in examination malpractice; such fear of failure may be as a result of lack of self-confidence, ill-preparedness or perceived difficulty of subjects. In order to excel in examination,