1.1   Background to the Study

Education has become a tool for national development. Strong foundation of education is a vital component to promote technological, social and physical aspects of any society. Therefore, the government established educational institutions throughout the country to prepare students who can face the challenges of the society (Elmurod, 2021). In an ideal society, one of the goals of education is to enable children to confront future difficulties and to develop them to satisfy the country's workforce needs (Rehmani, 2003). In educational institutions, students are provided counselling along with the teaching to build required skills in students and promote knowledge. Certain learning outcomes are set for the students to build their knowledge and skills, and to check either the students have achieved those learning outcomes or not, the test is designed (Adeqoke, 2010). In the early grades, schools are responsible to conduct an exam in school premises and evaluate students’ performance. At the higher grades, students are appeared in standardized test. Examination is a formal test of someone's knowledge or aptitude in a certain topic, notably via answering questions or practical exercises, and that it is used to determine how much of a subject matter in a particular field of study the applicant has learned. Previously, students would conceal their behaviour, but today they openly proclaim them (Adegoke, 2010).

Examination is a device for testing, assessment, evaluation and accreditation (Goni, Mburza and Kagu, 2009). Again, examination and learning are processes through which students are evaluated to find out the quality and quantity of knowledge acquired within a specified period. But for this study, the term “examination” is a yardstick that measures the extent to which a concept was taught and understood in a teaching learning condition. Be that as it may, this age long process of assessment has been bedeviled long ago and has been infested with irregularities (examination malpractices) in Nigeria.

The adversary of malpractice is any act of wrong doing or overlook that contravenes the guidelines of acceptable practice before, during and after an examination (Usman, 1996). Furthermore, examination malpractice is a conduct or improper exercise in any examination with a view to obtaining good results with deceptive practices (Omoegun, 2002). Truly, this disdainful act is an unethical behavior carried out by anyone who is directly or indirectly involved in the conduct of any examination either during or after the examination. The typical practice of examination with the helpful intent of the production of purposeful candidates for the country has been bastardized in the Nigerian education system. This practice which goes back to the late 1970's was created by the ex-warlords who returned to school after the civil war in Nigeria. According to the National Orientation Agency in 2012, 12%of public examination candidates are involved in this menace throughout the nation.

According to Obimba (2002), teachers’ non detailed teaching and students’ laxities to studies are the major causes of examination malpractices. Again, a study on the causes and remedies for examination malpractices by Nnachi (2006) showed that several schools lack the adequate numbers of teachers for the various subjects and the few available ones, for lack of incentive abandon the teaching of the subjects. Teachers motivate students to cheat in the examination to make up for their deficiencies (Alutu and Alutu, 2006).

The main vision for secondary schools in the federal republic of Nigeria Policy on Education which states that; its aim is to prepare individual for useful living within the society; and higher education studies. In section 5(21) of this same policy, it is obvious that the purpose of the training is to provide all primary school leavers with the opportunity for education of higher level, irrespective of sex, social status, religious or ethnic background; offer diversified curriculum to cater for the differences in talents, opportunities and future roles; provide trained manpower in the applied science, technology and commerce at sub-professional grades; inspire students with a desire for self-improvement and achievement of excellence; and raise a generation of people who can think for themselves, respect the views and feelings of others, respect the dignity of labour, appreciate those values specified under out broad values specified under out broad national goals and live as good citizens. To achieve these goals, qualified professional teachers are needed for these adolescents in the society.

It is therefore very important that concerted efforts need to be made not just to recognize those involved in the perpetration of this illegal act however efforts must also be made to getting rid of this threat slowly ruining the dignity of our institutions of learning in Nigeria. On this promise, this study, as it advances, discusses the assessment of factors affecting teachers’ involvement in examination malpractice by using West Itam Secondary School, Itu Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, as a case study.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

The cankerworm ruining the academic standard in Nigeria is examination malpractice at the secondary school level of study. Other partners in the exercise have not been criticized throughout the years other than students. The teachers' roles in the act are more cankerous and an important study of this stakeholder is a necessity so as to decipher this unwell staring the country in the face. Teachers poor attitude to teaching make students ill-prepared for examinations. As a matter of fact, teachers abandon the work for other mean jobs or businesses.

A lot of others teachers lobby their heads to opt for SSCE and NECO supervisions in order to earn money. In such events, they connive with the examiners to cheat for bargained financial benefits thus aiding and abating examination malpractices. The commonest reason is either poor salaries or delayed salary payments. In this race, parents are wholesomely included by acquiring live question papers for their children and wards (National Orientation Agency, 2012).

Consequently, abovementioned factors, this study plans to evaluate teachers' involvement in examination malpractices in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. And it is hopeful that the outcomes of this study will help to ameliorate the alarming rate of examination malpractices in the nation. Lastly, if the preferred solutions and of this study are put into practice examination malpractices and poor branding of certificates in Nigeria will be a thing of the past.

1.3   Objectives of the Study

        The main objective of this study is to assess the factors affecting teachers’ involvement in examination malpractice by using West Itam Secondary School, Itu Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, as a case study. The specific objectives are:

i)             To identify the contributory factors to the cause of examination Malpractice in West Itam Secondary School, Itu Akwa Ibom State

ii)           To examine the roles of teachers in examination malpractice in West Itam Secondary School, Itu, Akwa Ibom State

iii)          To examine the effect of Teachers Involvement in Examination Malpractice on West Itam Secondary School, Itu Akwa Ibom State

1.4   Research Questions

        The following statements are the research questions that this study seeks to provide answers to:

i)             What are the factors that cause examination malpractice among secondary school students in Nigeria

ii)           What are the roles of examination malpractice in Nigeria?

iii)          What are the effects of teacher involvement in exam malpractice in Nigeria?.

1.5   Research Hypotheses

These are the research hypotheses for this study:

i)            There is significant between examination malpractice and academic performance of students in secondary schools in Nigeria

ii)          There is significant relationship between teachers’ involvement in examination malpractice and academic achievement of secondary school students in Nigeria

1.6   Significance of the Study

        This study is significant in that it will throw more light on the reasons for the involvement of teachers in examination malpractices in secondary schools. It will help to enlighten education administrators on the principles of solving the problems of examination malpractices in schools. This study will also provide opportunity for better appreciation of educational certificate in the country. It will help in solving the problem of brain drain in the country. It will help secondary school student to put the right attitude towards learning and in examinations. Lastly, it will show the teachers the danger of their involvement in examination malpractice and how this has been contributing negatively to the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Nigeria.

1.7   Scope of the Study

This study will focus mainly on the factors affecting teachers’ involvement in examination malpractice by using West Itam Secondary School, Itu Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, as a case study.

1.8   Limitations of the Study

        The major constraints to this study are time required in administering the questionnaire and the writing of the research work, as well as the administration and filling of the questionnaire by respondents. Also, uncooperative attitude of some students and teachers in filling the questionnaire. In addition, the non-availability of enough materials and literatures on the project topic constitutes a constraint.

1.9   Definition of Terms

These are the meaning of terms used in this study:

Academic Achievement: a measure of knowledge gained in formal education usually indicated by test scores, grade, grade points, average and degrees. Here, the achievement level of the student is judged by the marks that the students have scored in the quarterly examinations.

Examination: It is a way to ascertain how much of a subject matter in a particular field of study the candidate has mastered. In other words, it is a process through which studies are evaluated or tested to find out the quality of knowledge they have acquired within a specific period.

Malpractice: It is a failure of professional person to proper services through reprehensive ignorance or negligence or through criminal intent. It is also referred to as improper misconduct.

Examination malpractice: Is any act of omission or commission that contravenes the Rules and Regulations of the examination body to the extent of undermining the validity and reliability of the tests and ultimately, the integrity of the certificates issued.

School Authorities:  This refers to teachers and principals who are invigilators and supervisors of examination in schools.

Education:  It is the transmission of cultural renewal. It is the development of the mind and body (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains) of an individual in order that he/she may become useful to the society.