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.
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