Curbing examination malpractice through public service adverts
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
On personal observation the researcher discovered, after hours of touring the premises of IMT and ESCET respectively, countless notices of room vacancies at IMT, a few HIV/AIDS and cultism campaign billboards in both institutions and only ONE inconspicuously painted sign at ESCET which read, “stop examination malpractices …study hard”. This goes to show how only little energy has been channeled towards curbing the vice, under study, present in both institutions of learning.
Examination malpractices in Nigeria have attained a frightening proportion. It is sophisticated and institutionalized. Unfortunately, it involves youth between the ages of 18-23 years. Efforts by government administrations and various stakeholders in the educational sector to avert the ugly trend have not yielded fruit.
According to Eromosele (2001),
…from the present trend, examination malpractices will utterly destroy the quality of education in Nigeria if decisive steps are not taken to avert or checkmate the trend.
Ruwa (1997) traced back examination malpractices to 1914. Its situation is so embarrassing to the nation that the federal military government in 1984 promulgated Decree 20 to deal with it. However, this decree was revised by the Examination Malpractices Act 33 of 1999. Other measures adopted too were the War Against Indiscipline and Corruption (WAIC) of the Buhari/Idiagbon regime and MAMSER of Babangida regime. Despite these steps, the evil continues to eat deep into the system.
Whereas in the past students tend to hide examination malpractice acts, now they advertise them without any fear or shame. Recently, several studies suggest that students are turning towards more private values, primarily towards self-fulfillment in a career. The strong shift towards ethical and liberal political values appears to have slowed. As a result, the trends towards increased social liberalism, cultism, de-emphasis on automatic acceptance of authority, and examination malpractices have continued to rise.
One of the objectives of education in Nigeria is to prepare the young ones to face future challenges and develop them to meet the nation’s manpower requirements. Schools need to conduct examinations as a yardstick for assessment. In the recent past, there has been a renewed effort to wage war against corruption at international, regional and national dimensions. Yet the following questions are unanswered: why have youths decided to join the corruption train? What are the strategies that have been used to fight this particular corruption? Why are these strategies not winning the war? What are the options for winning the war? As it is, the war could be lost forever since universally accepted and time tested strategies are not effectively or efficiently utilized.
The intent of this study is to extend earlier efforts by examining the effect of a public service information campaign (also called Public Service Advertising-PSA) at IMT (Polytechnic) and ESCET (College of Education) on examination malpractice prevention. The researcher hopes to contribute to the continuing elucidation of PSAs on students. She is motivated by some of the same questions and concerns that scholars have pondered on for decades. Thus, interest in all levels of education has been focused on its impact on student values and its role in the creation of socially and politically concerned individuals. Much research has concentrated on changes in attitude and personality as a result of the educational experience.
Advertising is essentially persuasive communication. Thus, the goals set for advertising are communication tasks: to reach a defined audience, to a given extent, and during a given time period. The public move from unawareness of a policy to awareness and then to knowledge, liking, preference, conviction and then action. Public service information campaigns are non partisan and noncommercial. They promote causes, influence behavior and advertise locally and nationally social betterment. According to Igbuzor (2005), there are six questions that should test the seriousness of any anti-corruption crusade. These are: Is it systematic? Is it comprehensive? Is it consistent? Does it have focus? Is it well-publicized? Does it carry people along?
Students are generally known with consistent mobility; on foot, by public transportation or personal vehicles. Thus, outdoor advertising is an effective way of reaching them. It offers the lowest cost per exposure of any major advertising medium, and it produces a major impact, because it is usually big, colourful, brief in content and hard to ignore. It primarily serves as a reminder medium. It comes in posters (billboards), painted bulletins, signs, handbills or even transit and shelter advertising.
Youths are one of the nation’s greatest assets. The Nigerian youth grapples with the problem of corruption ranging from examination malpractices to fraud. It is incontrovertible that examination malpractice thrives in a corrupt society which indicates that it is in the psyche of the people. Theories have maintained that human morality springs from the emotional disposition that is hardwired in our species. Therefore corruption can only be tackled there.
Through an effective conscience appeal, this study hopes to provide the answers to most of the enquiries contained in this segment of the study and the reason more attention should be concentrated on adopting outdoor PSA measures as a new strategy towards preventing examination malpractices.
- STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
- The time of PSA placement may not correspond with ESCET’s academic schedule.
- The wrong outdoor medium or a poor presentation of the chosen medium is used.
- The location of the medium used is out of place considering students’ mobility.
- More attention is paid to the campaign against other societal ills.
- Difficulty in achieving intended attitudinal results towards examination malpractice prevention.
These are the problems which motivated the researcher towards embarking on this study.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
- To ensure that more attention and interest is drawn towards the use of outdoor PSAs.
- To create a strong conviction in ESCET and IMT’s students towards shunning all forms of examination malpractices.
- To determine suitable placement locations for the medium considering students’ mobility.
- To ensure that PSA placement timing synchronizes with that of the institutions’ academic calendar.
All these determine the high degree of effectiveness the campaign could achieve.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
In times past decrees have been promulgated, NGOs established, management policies adopted, even stiff fines have been stipulated, yet the scourge thrives.
Consequently, this study offers an easier way of achieving a gradual positive transition in the lives of the youth as can be observed through the following beneficiaries:
- The management of tertiary institutions, which includes invigilators, examination coordinators, course lecturers etc, is placed in a better position to produce a greater number of credible graduates.
- Governmental or non- governmental agencies responsible for tackling corruption – related issues are given a greater opportunity at ridding the society off this vice.
- It could serve as a forum for academic discuss, equally acting as a reminder, for the benefit of concerned and interested individuals in the society.
- Parents and guardians are assured a greater sense of pride and confidence in the capabilities and achievements of their wards.
- Finally, all the above would be assured a more secure future for the country especially if the youth, the root cause, take into consideration past mistakes and try to make good the present in good faith.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- To what extent is PSA placement timing corresponding with IMT and ESCET’s examination schedule?
- To what extent are positive behavioural results attainable?
- To what extent can suitable placement locations be determined considering students’ mobility?
- To what extent is interest geared towards the campaign’s medium?
- To what extent is increased interest in the campaign to contribute to its effectiveness?
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
- H0: PSA placement timing does not correspond with ESCET and IMT’s schedule
H1: PSA placement timing corresponds with ESCET and IMT’s schedule
- H0: positive behavioural results are not attainable
H2: positive behavioural results are attainable
- H0: suitable placement locations cannot be determined considering students’ mobility.
H3: suitable placement locations can be determined considering students’ mobility.
- H0: interest cannot be geared towards the campaign’s medium.
H4: interest can be geared towards the campaign’s medium.
- H0: increased interest cannot contribute to the campaign’s effectiveness.
H5: increased interest can contribute to the campaign’s effectiveness.
- CONCEPTUAL AND OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
The researcher used some terms that connote different meanings to different situations. The terms are hereunder defined to differentiate their conceptual and operational meanings:
Conceptual: being in force or operation often from a particular point in time
PUBLIC SERVICE ADVERTISEMENTS (PSAs)
Conceptual: advertisements intended to promote an idea in order to influence behavior
Operational: all forms of cheating in a test of knowledge which directly or indirectly falsifies the ability of the student.
Operational: establishing measures to avoid a situation that could occur
Conceptual: dependent on routine of an institution because of having spent a long time there
Operational: established as normal because of having existed for so long
Operational: not brightly coloured or easily noticed
Conceptual: look away
Operational: synonym for prevent
Conceptual: a current fashion or mode
Operational: situation of events
Conceptual: winning chess position
Operational: control a situation
Operational: military jargon for enactment of law
Conceptual: study or go through
Operational: amend or modify a law
Conceptual: lively enthusiasm
Conceptual: payment for work
Operational: engage in a societal war to achieve an end
Conceptual: linked railroad cars
Operational: sequence of events
Conceptual: armed fighting between groups
Operational: serious effort to end a societal ill
Conceptual: clarification/ explanation
Conceptual: work which poses as a burden
Operational: operations or activities
Conceptual: change to another social group
Operational: ability to move from one place to another in carrying out activities
Conceptual: curt or abrupt in conversation
Operational: inadequate information
Conceptual: undeniable or certain
Conceptual: what makes something happen
Operational: an idea that people work towards achieving
Conceptual: hold something with a hooked device
Operational: struggle to deal with a particular situation
conceptual: directly wired into a computer
Conceptual: human spirit or soul
Conceptual: arranging for appropriate class or course
Operational: act of positioning an advertisement at a particular location
Conceptual: adopt something so that it fits in with something else
Operational: channeled or directed
Conceptual: vigorous and purposeful
Operational: active and changing
- ASSUMPTIONS OF THE STUDY
In terms of research, and as a result of the world’s dynamic nature, this area of study cannot be said to be sufficiently explored. Now, the researcher concentrates on the aspect of how examination malpractice can be campaigned against through the effect caused by the use of outdoor PSAs (especially billboards) in IMT and ESCET students. Future researches could be conducted on the advancement of the then existing outdoor PSAs.
The world’s technology sector is advancing in leaps and bounds. As a result, existing PSAs today could tomorrow become modified in terms of its electronic and portable qualities. This trend could in turn synchronize with the increased and modified techniques of examination malpractice that could exist then. This is a real possibility. Even if this study may have succeeded in leaving a positive impression in the minds of the present day IMT and ESCET students, future unrepentant youths faced with more rigid anti-examination malpractice measures may be forced to invent new ways to “survive” academically. Metaphorically put, adapting to a “na-condition-wey –make –crayfish-bend” situation.
Consequently, these researchers should keep up with the ever changing trends by studying other Nigerian higher institutions of learning and comparing them with IMT and ESCET in terms of how well the examination malpractice scourge is monitored and what measures are adopted to prevent, manage or eradicate it from the school system.