1.1 Background to the Study

Examinations in Nigerian schools dated back to the advent of formal education in the country in the 1800s and it was patterned after the British system. As such, the 1987 ordinance made provision for examinations in schools that have attained the requisite percentage of proficiency (Adesina, 1990; Bandele, 2005). Towards this end, all secondary schools in the country are expected to teach their object is to meet the requirements of examination bodies for the senior secondary school certificate organized by the West African Examinations Council and the National Examinations Commission (FGN, 2004). In Egor Local Government, examinations are either internal or public. Internal examinations set by teachers in the form of class tests and end of term examinations. Public examinations on the other hand, are examinations that are conducted in the public interest by recognized examining bodies that were not, involved in organizing instruction or preparing students for the examinations (Addison, 1990; Slami, 1992; Adeyemi, 1998). Notwithstanding the importance of examinations in the educational system of the state, the instances of malpractices during examinations have been identified (Cromwell, 2000; Aeyegbe, 2002). These malpractices include misrepresentation of identity or impersonation, cheating, the of other students’ work, tampering with the works of others; bringing prepared answers to examination halls, unethical use of academic resources, fabrication of results, and showing disregard to academic regulations (Gross, 2003; Owuamanam, 2005). These vices have been regarded as academic misbehaviour capable of truncating an educational system (Glasner, 2002; Ogunwuyi, 2005). They have also been regarded by researchers (Omotosho, 1992; Hurwitz and Hurwitz, 2004) as dishonesty in examinations perpetrated by a person or a group of persons. Common observations in the local government show that examination malpractices occur in both public and private secondary schools.

Although, some researchers argued that examination malpractices occur at a high rate in public schools (Baiyelo, 2004; Daniel 2005), other researchers (Ijaiya, 2000, Igwe, 2004) were of the view that examination malpractices occur at a high rate in private schools. None of these researchers have been able to identify whether or not examination malpractices was at a higher rate in public schools than in private schools. The argument therefore is, are the public secondary schools more involved in examination malpractices than private schools in the local government? In the past two decades, common observations in the school system showed that public schools were engaged in examination malpractices at a high rate while private schools were model schools (Aghenta, 2000; Adeyegbe, 2002). These days it is common to find students who failed the senior secondary certificate examination in public schools going to retake the examination in private schools and at the same time passing the examination with credits and distinctions in such schools. It seems that the need to have good results in public examinations and advertise their schools to prospective students in the wake of money making appears to have led many private schools to be involved in examination malpractices.

Divergent views have also been made about the rate of examination malpractices in urban and rural secondary schools in the country. Some researchers (Ugo, 2004; Akpan et al, 2005) were of the opinion that examination malpractices were high in urban schools, other researchers (Lathrop and Foss, 2000; Onipade, 2003) had the view point that examination malpractices were a common feature in rural schools. They argued that it is common to find students who failed the senior secondary certificate examinations in an urban school going to a remote rural school to retake the examinations. At the end, such candidate tends to obtain good results with credits and distinctions in the rural schools. Some of the reasons given for this include the lack of eective supervision and monitoring of public examinations in rural schools (Al-Methen and Wilkinson, 1992; Tairab, 1992; Odeinde, 2003). Hence, students seem to be le to massive cheating in such examinations. On the national setting Olugbile (2004) conducted a study on the examination malpractices in secondary schools in Nigeria and found that malpractices in senior secondary certificate examinations were at a high. He reported that out of 909,888 pupils who sat for the senior secondary certificate examinations in year 2002, 95,519 of them were involved in examination fraud, while out of the 929,294 pupils who sat for the examinations in year 2003, 11,969 of them were involved in examination malpractices.

Supporting these findings, Onyechere (2004) reported that the National Examinations Malpractices Index for Nigeria increased from 10.5 in 2002 to 12.1 in 2003 indicating that of every 100 pupils who wrote WAEC senior secondary certificate examinations in 2003, 12 were involved in examination scandal.

1.2 Statement of Problem

The persistent occurrence of examination malpractices has been a major concern to educationist. Despite the high premium placed on examinations by the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004), it seems that examination malpractices have not been properly addressed in Egor Local Government. Common observations have shown that there is mass cheating in public examinations in the local government. Nothing concrete has been done to reduce the problem except the cancellation of results for a particular centre or the withholding of results in certain subjects. The problem of the study was that finding a lasting solution to the issue of examination malpractices among secondary school students in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.