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This is a study whose aim was to establish the forms (nature) and causes of examination malpractices in Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria in Zaria. The Examination Council of Nigeria has placed a high premium on examinations. Despite the high premium placed on examinations, examination malpractice are still on the increase. The aim of the study was to bring out the nature and causes of examination malpractice.

The study revealed that the nature of examination malpractice includes; leakage, impersonation, taking foreign material into the examination room, collusion, body writing or tattooing, hiding material in washrooms, taking in already answered scripts and replacing them with the answer script given to them, giraffing and text messages and borrowing of stored material using cell phones.  This study highlights the reasons for examination malpractice which includes learners desire to pass the examinations, lack of confidence, fear of failure, worry of failing to get a certificate, the emphasis on obtaining a certificate to get a job, improper guidance by teachers to face examinations, frequent absenteeism and laziness.

 A descriptive design was used. Data collection included the use of in- depth interviews with school managers while focus group discussions were used for learners. Questionnaires were also used for teachers and learners. The sample for the study was one hundred and twelve (112) which was disaggregated as follows;  70 pupils,  28  teachers, and 14 school managers from Zaria. Teachers were selected purposively while pupils were selected using random sampling. A study involved application of quantitative and qualitative methods.





In 2018 leakages flooded the country. With what results? Many people were arrested, exams were suspended until further notice, and pupils wrote the exams twice. It is not just for that year, for many years examination leakages has continued to dent the credibility of our education system in Nigeria. As we know however, the integrity of any education system and the qualifications lies in the acceptable practices in the conduct of national examinations. Hence, this research provides elaborate observations of the forms and causes of examination malpractices on the nation.

1.1 Background of the study

The inception of education in Africa can be traced back to man’s history. This entails that education was there from the time man existed in their societies. The type of education that existed in Africa was known as indigenous African education and it was in existence before the coming of the missionaries. This type of education was informal and learners acquired skills through observation and imitation. It comprised oral examination and careful observation through apprenticeship. Its mode of instruction was simple in that knowledge was passed on orally and through practical tests and it was mainly based on experience and practice (Snelson, 1990).

This type of education, however, slowly became obsolete with the introduction of western education by the missionaries which came about due to the increase in the number of learners and the availability of written materials. This saw the introduction of tests although the very tests written were of low psychometric properties because of little or no training of the teachers who prepared them (Aderogba, 2011). This led into the development of competence examinations in order to overcome the problem of low psychometric tests. The competence examinations have been adopted and are used to evaluate learners and promote them from one level of education into the next. They are also used for certifying candidates at the end of each school term.

Examination malpractice is an academic disease that has affected and infected many members of the instructional team or many stakeholders in the education industry and has posed a very serious threat to education standards and credibility of school certificates awarded. It is an academic fraud and it is a form of corruption which derives from the corrupt nature of the social system operating in many countries today. Examination malpractice has become a disaster in many countries and every disaster brings an emergency situation that requires the attention of all stakeholders. Many strategies have been advanced in the literature and devised by governments to curb this menace, but, as a monster, it is still thriving and looming in the school system (Onyechere, 2008).


The problems of examination malpractices and leakages have been of great concern in Nigeria. There has been a strong feeling among those responsible for determining policy that external examinations are an unmitigated evil from which pupils in secondary schools should be shielded as much as possible. To solve this problem of examination malpractices the government should introduce education policies that can deter learners and teachers to involve themselves in examination malpractices and leakages. Good policies to increase teachers’ salaries, building many schools, employing a lot of teachers and introducing free education would help solve this problem.

According to Mwenya Chileshe ( 2010) ‘Most pupils go to the extreme end of using money, sex, bullying, extortion and blackmail or whatever tool that come their way to obtain prior knowledge of questions’.

The minister of education in partner with major stakeholders has ruthlessly tried all efforts to curb this vice but all in vain. Generally, the Nigerian populace refers to examination malpractices as leakages. A visit to most schools which have been approved as examination centers by the examination council of Nigeria show that, strong rooms have been erected in most schools for the safe keeping of examination papers, until the day on which the paper is supposed to be written by pupils.

The marking centers are also given random spot check by the examination council of Nigeria and the ministry of education officials. All these controls are put in place to stop the scourge of examination malpractices which can be done at any stage. The preparation stage is also looked on with key interest that is why papers previously were printed from other countries and transported to Nigeria under strict security.

Additionally, the provincial education officer appoint supervisors for examinations. The overall responsibility with regard to the proper conduct and security of examinations in school and colleges lie with the head teacher of the school. The head Teacher of the school remains in the station throughout the examination period to ensure proper conduct of examinations.

During the past five years it has been observed with disappointment that the examination malpractices and leakages’ rate are just increasing and even getting worse than ever. Every year the minister of education and other education bodies have tried to sensitize teacher and learners about the dangers of this vice but to no avail. In 2018, the minister of education was on the radio addressing the nation on examination malpractices and the negative effects it has on the economy of Nigeria. He also went further to say that stiff punishment will be meted out to the perpetrators of this vice. But all his efforts were not helping to bring down the rate at which examination malpractices are done. In additions union leaders have also tried to talk to their teachers but still to no avail. It is for this reason that this research has been conducted to help find out why this vice is increasing and look for solutions to help reduce the scourge.


It is disheartening to note that despite the government’s commitment to eradicate examination malpractices and leakages by many people, final examination malpractices have become rampant in Nigeria. This scourge has become a worrisome problem to the ministry of education and the examination council of Nigeria, whose aim is to conduct examinations without prior knowledge to the exams. To this date it affects to be little on accurate and reliable information to show the actual causes of examination malpractices. Therefore, this study will investigate forms and factors causing examination malpractices


The rationale of this study is to investigate and establish facts to determine the forms and causes of examination malpractices and leakages in some selected schools in Zaria Nigeria.


The objectives of this study are;

To identify the forms (nature) of examination malpractices in Nigeria.

To find out the causes of examination malpractices in Nigeria.

To find out how teachers and pupils look at examination malpractices and leakages.


what are the forms of examination malpractices?

What are the causes of examination malpractices?

What are the views of teachers and pupils on the forms and nature of examination malpractices?


The study has generated information on the nature and causes of examination malpractice in secondary schools. The assumption is that the study has brought out new knowledge on the nature and reasons for examination malpractice. It is anticipated that the findings of the study may assist the District Education Boards devise strategies of curbing examination malpractice. It may further help policy makers and decision makers in the Ministry of Education, Science and Vocational Training and Early Education to make informed policy on how to curb examination malpractice in secondary schools.


In addition, this study is particularly significant because simple as it may appear, examination malpractices affects the smooth running of society regardless of any rationalizations, and it is a harmful activity in a competitive educational environment (Vowell & Chen, 2004). Individuals involved in this misconduct might lose their moral direction; fail to recognize ethics as a value (Nigerian Economist, 2010). Similarly, those who play by the rules are at a disadvantage (Vowell & Chen, 2004) and some researchers have begun to prove links between academic misconduct and cheating at work (Nonis & Swift, 2001). Thus, whereas correlates of academic misconduct in developed and other developing nations can be found in literature, this study

contributes to profiling examination malpractices in a Nigerian setting


In this study, the researcher limits her study to Lusaka urban area in the township of woodlands, chinika industrial area, chipata compound and Olympia township. The population of study is made up of teachers, members of the community, district board secretary, pupils and head teachers. The choice Zaria did not however make other district less important, but it was just appropriate because of the following factors’

Easy transport, availability of communication network facilities, lack of enough funds to go to other towns and accommodation and restrictions in movement due to the corona virus pandemic.


  • PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATION- the level of training acquired to enable one to work effectively in his field of specialty.
  • LEAKAGES- unauthorized papers brought dishonestly before the day of examination.
  • EXAMINATION MALPRACTICES- these are unauthorized practices concerning examinations.
  • QUALITATIVE DATA- objective type of information.
  • OBSERVATIONS-finding out by looking at the activities taking place v QUESTIONNAIRES – questions used to gather data.
  • COPYINGReproduction of another candidate work with or without permission.
  • COLLUSIONUnauthorized passing of information between candidates usually by exchanging notes or scripts. Usually involves only the candidate but can be facilitated by inadequate spacing between desks and lacked supervision.



This chapter has provided an overview on the issue of examination malpractice in Nigeria. However, there have been few studies to establish the nature and causes of examination malpractice in Nigeria. A study on the nature and causes on the examination malpractice is vital. The next chapter presents the review of literature on examination malpractice.


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