Effects Of Corruption On Academic Activities In Higher Institutions In Nigeria

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Effects Of Corruption On Academic Activities In Higher Institutions In Nigeria


This study is aimed at investigating the effects of corruption on academic activities in higher institutions in Nigeria using University of Lagos and Lagos state University, Lagos, Nigeria as case studies. As a descriptive research, the study population comprised 160 students (80 students from each institution)and 40 lecturers (20 lecturers from each institution) making a total of 200 samples. Stratified random sampling technique was employed in carrying out this study. The instrument used to collect data for the study was an inventory while the data collected was analyzed using percentages, chi-square statistic and the t-test.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Corruption has become a potent force in the education sector not only in Nigeria alone but worldwide. Though a late addition to the subjects dealt with in corruption studies, corruption in education has become a dominant theme globally. Universally, the dimensions corruption takes in environments and societies where it has become a practical, trending, fashionable and cherishable value system for the survival of the people have been so complex so much that local, national and international efforts and actions to check or contain it has consistently failed or defiled solutions.

However, a ray of hope came in sight when the United Nations through General Assembly Resolution 58/4 of 31 October 2003 which became operational on 14 December 2005 initiated actions which in addition to creating awareness on strategies for preventing corruption also targets criminalizing corruption in any form it manifests. A close examination of the efforts of the United Nations in this direction can point in two ways namely creating awareness and sensitizing members of the global community on the existence of corruption and its global condemnation and the establishment of a global network of framework upon which conscious fight against corruption can be mounted, initiated or put on global agenda. These are in view of the fact that the free flourishing of corruption at any level can turn out to be a torn in the flesh of members of the global community. This line of thinking is premised or anchored on the position that corruption defies territorial borders and can be instrumental for the promotion of agonizing and dehumanizing anti-social practices including organized crimes, terrorism, drug and human trafficking among others.

The extent of corruption in Nigeria, as revealed byLawal and Tobi (2006:642) write that “Nigeria presents a typical case of a country in Africa whose development has been undermined and retarded by the menace of corrupt practices”. The prevalence of corruption in Nigeria has gained global recognition so much that Transparency International Corruption Perception Index of 1995-1997 ranked Nigeria as the most corrupt country in the world and in 1999, Nigeria was also named the second most corrupt country in the world. In recent times, Tony Blair, one time British Prime Minister in one of his state official visits to Nigeria describes Nigeria to be “fanstatically corrupt” and this description suggests that corruption in Nigeria is systematic and deep rooted in the psyche of majority of Nigerians.

The wide spread or prevalence of corruption in Nigeria means that there is hardly any sector of the Nigerian society that can be exempted as not being corrupt. Be this as it may, there are sectors in which the prevalence of corruption in them can terribly and disastrously destroy a state and her people and one sector where this is real is education. This position is taken because corruption in the education industry is terribly detrimental to the moral and general health of the Nigerian state. In this paper attempts will be made to demonstrate the prevalence of corruption in Nigeria’s education industry starting from the primary through the secondary to the tertiary levels with emphasis on highlighting the implications of corruption in the education industry for Nigeria’s national development. In our attempt at doing this, we shall identify trends, shapes and forms as well as those whose actions promote and support corruption in Nigeria’s education industry and on one hand proffer solutions on how to tackle the problem of corruption in Nigeria’s education industry.

Academic corruption comes in various dimensions. But the most prominent ones are sexual harassment and what is generally called “sorting”. “Sorting” is a slang on campus which refers to a situation whereby students are compelled to pay lecturers so that they could be awarded marks they did not score during examinations. It is so bad that indigent but brilliant students who could not afford the money demanded by lecturers are made to fail the courses and sometimes have to carry-over the courses and thereby making graduationa difficult case for such students.

Failing students who do not buy handouts or textbooks written by lecturers is another form of academic corruption that is prevalent in the nation’s so-called Ivory Towers. Some lecturers even use their academic materials in exchange for marks and any student who buys their materials will automatically be given certain marks. This form of victimisation is endemic in the academic environment. Sexual harassment of female students by male lecturers is seen as a normal thing among lecturers. Lecturers old enough to be fathers of the female undergraduates throw everything to the dogs in order to lure the students to bed in exchange for marks.

School authorities are aware of the prevalence of academic corruption on campuses but have turned a blind eye to it. That is why it is very rare to hear that lecturers have been caught in the act or brought to book. The case of the University of Lagos lecturer (the institution has since disowned him) who allegedly took advantage of an admission-seeking teenage daughter of his friend by raping her on campus is just one among many of such sexual harassment cases on university campuses across the country. There are few lecturers who are above board, especially the elderly ones, but the vast majority of the younger lecturers engage in the act. This study is aimed at investigating the effects of corruption on academic activities in higher institutions in Nigeria using University of Lagos and Lagos state University, Lagos, Nigeria as case studies.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Education in Nigeria was once an important policy in the business of governance apart from the fact that a nation must educate its citizens to become learned, knowledgeable and civilized, it is also an acknowledged means of attaining prospects; that would help the people to be relevant and maintain sustainability of resources for the unborn generations. Education in any kind, reading and writing, be it science, social sciences or arts are basic knowledge that can lead learners to be conscious of their rights and become useful tools for national development preferably with the inclusion of historical and religious knowledge.

However, there is no compulsion in religion adherence but, who follows God’s guiding principles will dwell in wisdom and positive thoughts. In pool of such knowledge, people with such prospects would examine and understand the challenges the nation had been confronted with in the past, try to be conscious of the present and future needs of the society. Ozigi and Ocho,(1981) pointed out that in the northern parts of Nigeria,Islam wasdeeply entrenched both in the religious belief and educational orientation of the people who had a uniform Qur’anic education policy. The author, in another cited work argues further that in the southern parts, each ethnic group had its own traditional form of education based on its own culture and tradition, whose aims and objectives were similar. Therefore, education as life investment is utterly not foreign to Nigerian society.

1.3 Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

  1. What are the various forms of corruption in academic activities in higher institutions in Nigeria?
  2. What is the prevalence of corruption in academic activities in higher institutions in Nigeria?
  3. What are the effects of corruption on academic activities in higher institutions in Nigeria?

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine the effects of corruption on academic activities in higher institutions in Nigeria using University of Lagos and Lagos state University, Lagos, Nigeria as case studies. The specific objective included:

  1. To investigate the various forms of corruption in academic activities in higher institutions in Nigeria
  2. To examine the prevalence of corruption in academic activities in higher institutions in Nigeria
  3. To determine the effects of corruption on academic activities in higher institutions in Nigeria

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is important that we have understanding of what students say make them to indulge in corrupt practices knowing that discovery can result in heavy penalties including imprisonment and the truncation of their career prospects. This research will provide such understanding by the articulation of students’ ideas and concepts of corruption as well as a fuller map of higher education student corruption; it will also suggest possible directions for the design and implementation of anticorruption policies and mechanisms in the higher education sector. It will also serve as a basis upon which further research of this kind will be done.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study examines the effects of corruption on academic activities in higher institutions in Nigeria using University of Lagos and Lagos state University, Lagos, Nigeria as case studies. Therefore, the study shall be among students and lecturers of these institutions.

1.7 Limitation of the study

The research work faced a lot of challenges but two of the challenges were memorable. One of it is the time constraint which limited the areas covered by the researcher. Another one was that the researcher encountered a lot of difficulties in gathering information from the students and the lecturers of these institutions as they were too busy to attend to the researcher especially the lecturers.

1.8 Definitions of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of this study:

Academic Activities:

Extracurricular (ECA) or Extra Academic Activity (EAA) are those that fall outside the realm of the normal curriculum of school or university education, performed by students. And generally, volunteer activities aren’t always extra curricular activities.


Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.

Higher institutions:

Education beyond high school, specifically that provided by colleges and graduate schools, and professional schools.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

The findings of this research are those that should be treated with the urgency they deserve if Nigerian universities will make appreciable progress in the near future in order to meet up with global challenges in higher education. Therefore, government and all stake holders must join hands in ensuring quality assurance, pursuant to the requirements for ranking Nigerian universities among the world class universities. Although university education should play a major role in actualizing the MDGs, academic corruption is a disadvantage in this direction. This is why academic corruption should be fought among lecturers and students while counselling is emphasized in bringing about quality management of staff and students so as to ensure ethical and moral uprightness which includes honesty, teaching right values and academic integrity, hard work and self discipline in order to ensure provision of quality university education in Nigeria

5.2 Recommendations

The following recommendations are made as a way forward:

  1. Counsellors in the universities should organize seminars/symposia and workshops in enlightening the university community on good moral and ethical standards that help to prevent academic corruption especially based on examination ethics once in a semester, using orientation programmes. Invitation for such programmes should be extended to parents as well since they were identified as one of the people involved in academic corruption. Emphasis should be placed on cognitive restructuring of behaviour and inculcating good morals in terms of good lecture delivery qualities, course content quality and staff-student relationships by learning essential skills as well as ethical behavioural standards. Family values should be emphasized, which used to be the pride of the African people in times past, especially on the part of parents.
  2. Government should also strictly apply some anti-corruption measures in the universities such as the use of economic and legal means in addition to supplying lecture rooms and offices with surveillance cameras for monitoring activities of staff and students in the university.
  3. In view of poor entry qualification of students as one of the causes of academic corruption, universities should ensure that only qualified students are admitted. This is a challenge for the Minister of Education to work closely with the vice chancellors of universities and for them to conduct more research on academic corruption. Counsellors should organize lectures for students, giving them tips on how to improve on their study habits. This can be integrated into the university orientation programmes or prior to the commencement of semester examinations.
  4. In addressing the effects of academic corruption such as poor absorption of graduates into the labour market and general poor quality of graduates, the National Universities Commission should ensure that increase in student number be commensurate with staff and facilities.
  5. Universities should be forced by NUC which ensures quality of education to comply with those criteria that enhance their qualification in the world ranking of universities such as number of students admitted, class size, number of academic staff with top terminal degrees such as PhD, student performance in tests, amongst others. Furthermore, designated committees should be formed for the purpose of monitoring lecturers’ work in terms of ensuring that their course outlines are well covered for each semester and cross- checking entry of scores made by examination officers.
  6. Staff and students caught engaging in bribery and extortion should be sent to the counsellors for group or individual counselling after facing disciplinary action.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How corrupt is Nigeria’s political system?

In fact, corruption levels are highest in Nigeria’s political system. In both the Senate and the House of Representatives, corruption is seen as normal. 

How corruption affects the development of a country?

Poor National Development Any country with high corruption levels is likely to experience developmental bankruptcy. When some CEOs indulge in corrupt practices to make their money, economic development will suffer. When Nigerians keep on shifting the country’s currency to foreign countries, there will be less economic development in Nigeria.

Is corruption a problem in Nigerian football?

Match-fixing and corruption is a problem in Nigerian football and has lead to sanctions against a number of clubs, referees and officials (Oluwashina 2013). A referee (the name of whom was withdrawn) who is currently a Catholic priest serving in a parish in Anambra, once gave his experience on the level of corruption in football.

Which African country has the highest level of corruption?

Nigeria, which is the most populated country in Africa, has consistently been ranked high in corruption by Transparency International and other notable organizations that monitor corrupt practices around the world. 

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