How Truancy Affects Examination Malpractices Among Senior Secondary School Students
The study examined how truancy affects examination malpractices among senior secondary school students in Ifako Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State. The study went further to investigate the acts that constitutes truancy and examination malpractices among senior secondary schools students in Lagos State, Nigeria, the school and personal related factors responsible for truancy among senior secondary school students in Lagos State, Nigeria, the effects of truancy on examination malpractices in senior secondary schools in the State and the measures currently taken to discourage and prevent truancy and examination malpractices among senior secondary school students in the State.
Secondary data provided at Ijaiye Ojokoro Senior High School helped to see the extent of truancy among the senior secondary school students through the 2014/2015 academic sessions’ attendance register and the academic performance of the selected truants were accessed from the broad sheet for the 2014/2015 academic session.
Staying out of school without permission, absenteeism from school for more than ten times, engagement of students in anti – social behaviours, skipping lessons even while in school missing school because of undone assignments and staying out of classroom can lead students into bad association were all statements the respondents agreed with en masse as acts that constitutes truancy.
Learner’s fear of a threatening situation at school can make him play truancy (56.5%), students’ inability to cope with academic expectations and demands (93.5%), a child can decide to absent himself from school so as to avoid being bullied/threatened by older students (67.7%), too much discipline/punishments by teachers can lead a student into truant behaviour (75.8%), a child can become a truant through his/her choice of friends (95.2%), several home factors may contribute to the truant behaviour of students (91.9%), insufficient and dilapidated physical facilities such as classrooms, furniture and other conveniences (72.6%) of the respondents agreed that poor educator – learner relationship (69.4%), teaching or instructional approach (56.5%) and shyness of repeaters to sit in classroom with younger students (98.45%) contributed immensely to truancy among the senior secondary school students.
Periodic counselling approach, using a variety of instructional approach, effective monitoring and recording of students’ attendance, building learners resiliency, acting fast on learners absence from school, prosecuting parents of truants and blacklisting of the affected examination centres showed positive relationship with staying out of school without permission; therefore the aforementioned measures shall be very effective in the reduction of truancy which will consequently reduce the incidences of examination malpractices among the senior secondary school students in Ifako Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State.
1.1 Background to the Study
Truancy is one of the major antisocial discipline problems among secondary school students in Nigeria. The concept and acts of indiscipline have received a lot of attention by researchers. Peck opined that the various behavioural disorders like stealing, violence, drug abuse, examination malpractice, sexual abuse and truancy have so undermined effective teaching-learning processes that some teachers have become helpless and disorganized in their task of impacting knowledge to the learners (Peck, 2002).
In recent times, education has been recognized globally as one of the universal ways of survival and improvement of the well-being of individuals and society. The advent of formal education is considered as the foundation for national development as well as the surest way of making of life long achievements. For these reasons, families and citizens especially the youth and children now pay more attention to education. (Ogbonna et.al, 2013).
However, the effort invested by the federal government of Nigeria on education had over the years proven a fruitful and promising reward to national development posing a lively hope for the better in the immediate future. It is of no doubt that several factors have posed relentless restriction to the trend of the rapid development in education; for which truancy in both student and teachers in primary and secondary schools has been a cankerworm to education. This has raised several questions to the quality of education and educational administration in Nigerian Secondary Schools. (Ogbonna et.al, 2013).
According to Huzinga and Thornberry (2000), Truancy is defined as having an unexcused absence from school for at least three school days during five-day school week. Moreover, Salford City Counsel Report (2008) defined Truancy as the act when a child, who is believed to have been at school, fails to attend school classes without the permission or awareness of the parents or the school authority concerned. Truancy is an international unauthorized absence from school activities. Echebiwe (2009) defined Truancy as a situation when a child under sixteen years of age who is registered at school fails to attend classes without prior formal permission from the parent or school authority. Not only do these issues present immediate concerns, there are also ramifications of these issues that can affect a person later in adulthood.
Therefore, Truancy is the practice of staying away from school without permission (Sydney, 2013). A child who engages in this act is therefore referred to as a Truant. This implies that every child is expected to be in school and must be present in school and class attendance regularly unless when a child is duly permitted to be absent in respect to health reasons or otherwise stated. (Ogbonna et.al, 2013).
However, children who engage in Truancy might have found life in classrooms dull, boring and uninteresting. Also, they must have found greater pleasure and interest in activities outside the school and the classroom environment. Such children usually leave their homes giving everybody the impression that they have gone to school, but stopped on the way side to participate in what they like to enjoy most. This they do until it is time for school dismissal and they return home. Some others are caught playing round the street with other Truants, engaging in gambling and loitering round the school premises. This is because some Truants get scared of some unfriendly treatment from teachers, unpleasant encounters during classroom work, unnecessary harassment and embarrassment by the senior students. These lead to loss of interest in academics in the classroom by the student.
Some Truants engage in Truancy because of the feeling of inferiority among their classmates, laziness to class work, challenges of classroom test and assignments, verbal abuses and threats of classroom instructors, school phobia, anxiety, bullying, lack of skills needed to perform well at school, lack of priority to education and academics (Kirk et.al, 2013). The school has also been identified as a strong factor responsible for truancy. Adewole reported that breakdown of communication, student over population, shortage of teachers, undue application of corporal punishment as well as peer influence at school are strongly associated with truancy.
Furthermore, the impact of truancy is very obvious and usually a negative one on Truants’ present and future life in education. Truancy results in loss of intellectual development and lack of improvement of individual. Also, it leads to poor academic performance at the end of the school periods, school terms and school year. Truancy as a threat to academic performances of the student is believed to reduce the quality of education the child receives. It reduces the standard of academic achievement of a child. It leads to the fall of educational standard in schools. It increases the rate of examination malpractices and poor examination results of both internal and external examinations. Truancy is also a factor that contributes to idleness, joblessness, unemployment and underemployment of most adults today, just because they engaged in the act of Truancy during their school days. (Ogbonna, et. al, 2013). In past research, truancy has been found to be related to various types of delinquency, including gang activity, alcohol and drug abuse, serious property crimes and examination malpractices (Baker, et. al 2001).
Examination malpractices in all its form is a major social problem in Nigeria. In the last two decades the country witnessed an alarming rate of increase in examination misconducts especially at the secondary school level. Evidences abound of increasing rate of examination malpractices by students, teachers and parents. Examination malpractice has become so widespread that there is virtually no examination anywhere at all levels and even outside the formal school system that it does not take place. Every examination season witnesses the emergence of new and clever ways of cheating. (Jimoh, 2009).
Unfortunately, the process of examination in Nigeria secondary schools has become a “contemporary shame” (Nwadiani, 2005). This is because of the phenomenon of examination malpractice that has become endemic in the educational system. The examination Malpractice Act (1999) explains examination malpractice as any act of omission or commission by a person who in anticipation of, before, during or after any examination fraudulently secured any unfair advantage for him/ herself or any other person in such a manner that contravenes the rules and regulations to the extent of undermining the validity, reliability, authenticity of the examination and ultimately the integrity of the certificates issued. Oluyeba and Daramola (cited in Alutu and Aluede, 2006) remarked that examination malpractice is any irregular behaviour exhibited by a candidate or anybody charged with the conduct of examination before, during or after the examination that contravenes the rules and regulations governing the conduct of such examination.
Nigeria’s education system is largely certificate oriented. So much value and emphasis are placed on certificates instead of knowledge, skills and competence. According to Nwandiani (2005), the market place value and reward for the level and face value quality of certificates promote tendencies for and acts of cheating in the process of certification. Many school leavers and dropouts have certificates without knowledge and skills. Most of the social maladies like manufacture and sale of fake drugs by pharmacists, collapse of buildings, massive fraud in banks and miscarriage of justice are consequences of over emphasis and value on certificates. And if this trend is allowed to continue, the country will end up with doctors who cannot differentiate between vein and artery, lawyers who cannot differentiate between an accused person and the complainant and teachers who may not be able to spell the names of their schools correctly (Orbih, 2006). It is high time the nation took certificates no more as passports to jobs or higher education; more emphasis should be placed on the competence and skill acquisition. The implication of this is that assessment of students should no longer be based on one almighty examination; rather, it should be continuous, from the very first day at school to the very last day. Continuous Assessment should be properly implemented. In addition, there should be re-orientation in the value system of the country. (Jimoh 2009).
The phenomenon of examination malpractice seems to be aggravated by the large scale and shameful involvement of dishonest and greedy teachers, school heads, parents and all those who take part in examination administration. The prominence assumed by this malady in the school system has become a source of concern to stakeholders in the education industry. Every examination season witnesses new and ingenious methods of cheating. The examination process has become endangered to the extent that certification has almost lost its credibility in the country. Certificates no longer seem to reflect skill and competence. Accusing fingers have been pointed at teachers, school heads, parents, students, examination officials and even security agents as those responsible for examination malpractice in the school system. (Ijaiya, 1998).
Common observations in the State 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, 1998; 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 public secondary schools more involved in examination malpractices than private schools in the State? In the past two decades, common observation 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. (Adeyemi, 2010)
1.2 Statement of the Problem
For a while now, the school structure has been faced by a number of hitches. These hitches affects classroom instruction, school administration and the overall performance of students. It affects academic performance both in internally and externally conducted examinations. Among these problems are truancy, bullying, fighting, rape and, cultism that have affected the teaching – learning process adversely and made the learning environment an uninteresting place to both the teacher and the students. (Ogbonna et.al). The persistent occurrence of examination malpractices has been a major concern to educationists (Aghenta, 2000; Ige, 2002). Knowing the importance of examinations in the educational system of the State, the instances of malpractices during examinations have been identified (Cromwell, 2000; Adeyegbe, 2002). 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 Lagos State, Nigeria. Common observations have shown that there are mass cheatings in public examinations in the State. 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. (Adeyemi, 2010). Therefore, it is the concern of this work to look into how truancy among several factors affects examination malpractices among senior secondary school students in Lagos State (A case study of Ifako – Ijaye Local Government Area of Lagos State).
1.3 Research Questions
The following research questions were addressed in the study.
a. What acts constitutes truancy and examination malpractices among senior secondary schools students in Lagos State, Nigeria?
b. What are the school and personal related factors responsible for truancy among senior secondary school students in Lagos State, Nigeria?
c. What are the effects of truancy on examination malpractices in senior secondary schools in the State?
d. What are the measures currently taken to discourage and prevent truancy and examination malpractices among senior secondary school students in the State?
1. There is no significant relationship between truancy and examination malpractices among senior secondary schools students in Lagos State.
2. There is no significant relationship between school related and personal related factors responsible for truancy among senior secondary school students.
3. There is no significant difference between examination malpractices and truancy among senior secondary school students in Lagos State.
4. There is no significant difference between measures currently taken to discourage and prevent truancy and examination malpractices among senior secondary school students in Lagos State.
1.4 Purpose of the study
The main purpose of this research work was to investigate how truancy affects examination malpractices among senior secondary school students in Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State.
However, the specific purposes were to:
a. identify reasons why senior secondary school students engage themselves in truancy
b. investigate factors responsible for truancy among senior secondary school students
c. find out effects of truancy on examination malpractices among the senior secondary school students
d. suggest possible solution to truancy and examination malpractices among senior secondary school students
1.5 Significance of the Study
Improving student attendance and truancy prevention have always been areas of concern for educators, as well as, community members, and legislators. Students who are not in school cannot learn, and frequently drop out. Truant students often engage in high-risk behaviors such as examination malpractices which eventually entangle them in the juvenile justice system (Jay and Mary, 2005). The seriousness of examination malpractice and its widespread manifestation have received attention in research. It has generated both public and private discussions Ijaiya, (1998); Sooze, (2004)). The Exam Ethics Project (EEP), led by Ike Onyechere, is currently leading a campaign against examination malpractices. Various bodies have also come up with policies on examination malpractices. The Lagos State Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) has also organized a public relations workshop to sensitize the public on the evils of examination malpractices. Topics covered included the causes of examination malpractices and other public offences in Nigeria and factors motivating students to go into cheating in examinations among others (Ozor), 2004).
Therefore, the government, curricular planners, school administrators, teachers, students and other stakeholders in the educational field, should work collaboratively to fight the menace of truancy as it helps to foster examination malpractices among secondary schools particularly those in senior secondary schools and in our tertiary institutions.
1.6 Scope of the study
Attempt was made by this study to unveil how truancy affects examination malpractices among secondary school students in Lagos State. The proposed area of study is Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government of Lagos where secondary school students shall be used as respondents to elicit information about truancy and its effect on examination malpractices among secondary school students of the afore mentioned location.
1.7 Definition of Terms
The following terms operationally defined as follows;
Truancy: This refers to the absence of a child from school without permission.
Truant Student: Students who have more than 10 unexcused/unverified absences in an academic School year.
Examination: An exercise designed to evaluate progress, test qualification or knowledge. It can also be referred to as a formal interrogation that seeks to test ability in various ways. Examination can be written, oral or practical.
Malpractices: This is simply a dereliction (intentional neglect) of professional duty.
Examination Malpractices: Is any act of omission or commission by a person who in anticipation of, before, during or after any examination fraudulently secured any unfair advantage for him/ herself or any other person in such a manner that contravenes the rules and regulations to the extent of undermining the validity, reliability, authenticity of the examination and ultimately the integrity of the certificates issued.
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