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1.1 Background to the Study

The concept of Christian religious studies encompasses the academic discipline that focuses on the scholarly examination and analysis of Christianity as a religious and cultural phenomenon. It involves the systematic study of Christian beliefs, practices, texts, history, and their impact on society. According to Oluwatelure and Oluwatelure (2017) Christian Religious Studies seeks to provide a comprehensive understanding of Christianity by employing various methodologies, including textual analysis, historical research, theological inquiry, sociological approaches, and comparative religion. It aims to approach the subject matter objectively, critically, and academically, distinct from confessional or devotional perspectives. The discipline recognizes the diverse nature of Christianity, encompassing various denominations, traditions, and interpretations, and encourages the exploration of their similarities, differences, and theological nuances. Christian religious studies also explores the historical context of the development of Christian thought, the social and cultural factors influencing its practices and beliefs, and its interaction with other religious and philosophical traditions. It fosters an interdisciplinary approach, integrating insights from fields such as anthropology, archaeology, sociology, philosophy, and literary studies to deepen the understanding of Christianity’s complexity and relevance.

The importance of Christian religious studies lies in its ability to provide a comprehensive and scholarly understanding of Christianity, its beliefs, practices, and historical development. First of all, it offers valuable insights into the foundations of Western civilization, as Christianity has played a significant role in shaping the cultural, moral, and ethical fabric of societies for centuries. By studying Christian religious studies, individuals gain a deeper appreciation for the historical and cultural context in which Christianity emerged and the profound impact it has had on art, literature, philosophy, and social institutions (Adeyemo & Adeyemo, 2018). Again, Christian religious studies promotes critical thinking and intellectual engagement by encouraging students to analyze religious texts, examine theological concepts, and explore diverse interpretations within Christianity. This fosters a deeper understanding of the complexities and nuances of religious thought and helps individuals develop skills in textual analysis, critical reasoning, and intercultural dialogue. Furthermore, to Ali (2019) Christian religious studies contributes to interfaith dialogue and understanding by fostering knowledge and empathy for different religious traditions, promoting tolerance, and facilitating respectful interactions between individuals of diverse religious backgrounds. It also equips individuals with a broader perspective on global issues, such as religious pluralism, religious freedom, and the intersections of religion and politics.

Teaching Christian Religious Studies in secondary schools presents unique challenges that educators must navigate. One significant challenge is ensuring a balanced and inclusive curriculum that respects the diverse religious backgrounds and beliefs of students. In secular educational systems, where students come from various religious traditions or no religious affiliation at all, it can be challenging to design a curriculum that reflects the breadth and depth of Christian religious traditions while also fostering respect for other religious perspectives (Chaudhary & Chaudhary, 2020). Striking a balance between providing an academically rigorous understanding of Christianity and respecting the rights and beliefs of students and their families can be a delicate task. Additionally, finding qualified teachers who possess both the subject matter expertise and the ability to facilitate respectful and inclusive discussions can be a challenge. Many secondary school teachers are not specialized in religious studies, which can impact the depth and quality of instruction in the subject. Furthermore, the potential for controversy and conflicts may arise when addressing sensitive topics within Christian Religious Studies, such as ethical issues, doctrinal differences, or the intersection of religion and social issues. Emenike and Njoku (2018) suggested that teachers must navigate these topics with sensitivity, ensuring that classroom discussions remain respectful and inclusive. Another challenge is the limited instructional time available within a crowded curriculum. Given the wide range of topics that Christian Religious Studies can cover, teachers must make choices about what to prioritize and may not be able to delve into certain areas as deeply as desired. Finally, Christian Religious Studies in secondary schools may face challenges related to legal and constitutional considerations, such as ensuring that instruction remains within the bounds of secular education and does not promote or favor any particular religious belief. Educators must stay abreast of relevant laws and regulations to ensure compliance while providing a rich and meaningful learning experience for their students.

The concept of examination malpractice in secondary schools refers to any unethical or dishonest behavior exhibited by students during examinations with the intention of gaining an unfair advantage or manipulating the assessment process. It encompasses a range of actions, including cheating, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, impersonation, and the use of prohibited materials or devices (Fawole & Odejide, 2019). Examination malpractice undermines the integrity of the assessment system, devalues the educational process, and compromises the fairness and accuracy of evaluating students’ knowledge and skills. It can take various forms, such as copying answers from neighboring students, bringing in cheat sheets, accessing pre-written notes or electronic devices, or obtaining question papers in advance. Examination malpractice often stems from factors such as intense academic pressure, the desire for high grades or academic achievement, lack of preparedness, competition, and the perception that success is more important than the learning process itself. To Gubb and Lomas (2019) it is a complex issue that requires a multi-faceted approach involving not only disciplinary measures but also addressing the underlying causes, promoting ethical values, fostering a positive learning environment, and providing support systems to help students develop proper study habits, time management skills, and academic integrity.

The effects of examination malpractice in secondary schools are far-reaching and detrimental to both individual students and the broader educational system. Firstly, it undermines the integrity and credibility of the assessment process, rendering the results unreliable and invalid. When students engage in malpractice, it distorts the true evaluation of their knowledge and skills, thereby compromising the fairness of the grading system (Onuka & Chukwuere, 2019). This erodes the trust and confidence in the educational system, as students, parents, and institutions lose faith in the authenticity of academic achievements. Secondly, examination malpractice diminishes the value of education itself. When success is equated with obtaining high grades through dishonest means, the emphasis shifts from genuine learning and personal growth to mere credentialism. This undermines the purpose of education, which should be to foster critical thinking, intellectual development, and the acquisition of knowledge and skills for life. Thirdly, examination malpractice perpetuates an unhealthy culture of competition and comparison among students. It creates an environment where the focus is on outperforming others rather than personal improvement and collaboration. This can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and a negative impact on mental health as students feel pressured to engage in malpractice to meet societal or parental expectations. Moreover, examination malpractice devalues the efforts and achievements of honest students who have worked hard to prepare for exams and demonstrate their true abilities. It creates an unfair advantage for those who cheat, eroding the principles of fairness and meritocracy in education. Lastly, examination malpractice has broader societal implications. It contributes to a cycle of corruption, as students who engage in malpractice may carry these unethical behaviors into other areas of life, perpetuating a culture of dishonesty. Furthermore, it hampers the development of a skilled and qualified workforce, as students who rely on cheating may lack the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in higher education or professional settings.

The role of Christian Religious Studies in curbing examination malpractices is multifaceted and can be approached from various angles. Firstly, Christian Religious Studies instills a strong moral and ethical foundation in students, emphasizing values such as honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility. By promoting these values, the subject encourages students to uphold ethical standards and resist the temptation to engage in dishonest practices such as cheating or plagiarism during examinations. It teaches them the importance of truthfulness and the consequences of engaging in unethical behavior. Secondly, Christian Religious Studies provides a framework for understanding the concepts of justice and fairness (Tettey & Biney, 2018). Students learn about the biblical teachings on justice, compassion, and treating others with respect and fairness. This knowledge can contribute to a sense of social responsibility and a commitment to upholding fairness in all aspects of life, including examinations. Additionally, Christian Religious Studies fosters critical thinking skills and encourages students to engage with the subject matter in a thoughtful and reflective manner. This can promote a deeper understanding of the value and purpose of education and the importance of personal growth and learning rather than focusing solely on achieving high grades. Moreover, Igbokwe-Odunze and Egbunike (2017) postulated that Christian Religious Studies offers opportunities for self-reflection, introspection, and spiritual development. It encourages students to cultivate virtues such as self-discipline, self-control, and perseverance, which are essential in resisting the pressures and temptations associated with examination malpractices. Lastly, Christian Religious Studies can provide a supportive and nurturing environment where students can discuss and address the root causes of examination malpractices, such as academic stress, competition, and the desire for success. Christian Religious Studies plays a vital role in curbing examination malpractices by promoting moral values, teaching concepts of justice and fairness, fostering critical thinking skills, nurturing personal growth and self-discipline, and addressing the underlying causes of unethical behavior.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Examination malpractices have become a significant concern in secondary schools. These malpractices undermine the integrity and fairness of the examination process, posing a threat to the quality of education and the development of ethical values among students. Despite various measures implemented to address this issue, examination malpractices persist, necessitating a comprehensive investigation into alternative approaches.

Within Bariga Local Government Area, examination malpractices have become alarmingly prevalent, with reports of cheating, passing centres, impersonation, and leaked examination papers. These malpractices not only compromise the credibility of academic qualifications but also hinder the educational advancement and personal growth of students. The existing measures, such as stricter invigilation, disciplinary actions, and awareness campaigns, have only yielded limited success in curbing the problem. Thus, there is a pressing need to explore innovative approaches to address examination malpractices effectively.

The pervasive nature of examination malpractices has far-reaching consequences on various stakeholders. First and foremost, it diminishes the value of education and erodes trust in the education system. Students who engage in malpractices not only compromise their own learning but also perpetuate a culture of dishonesty and unethical behavior. Furthermore, examination malpractices have detrimental effects on teachers, as they struggle to accurately evaluate students’ knowledge and skills. Additionally, parents, employers, and the broader community lose confidence in the educational qualifications awarded to students from the affected schools.

The primary motivation for this research is to explore the potential of Christian Religious Studies (CRS) as a viable tool to address examination malpractices in secondary schools within Bariga Local Government Area. CRS provides a unique platform to impart ethical teachings, moral values, and religious principles to students. By integrating CRS into the curriculum, it is believed that students can develop a strong moral consciousness, integrity, and a sense of responsibility, thus fostering a culture of academic honesty.

While efforts have been made to combat examination malpractices, there is a limited understanding of the specific role that Christian Religious Studies can play in curbing this issue. Existing interventions primarily focus on disciplinary measures without fully exploring the potential of CRS in promoting ethical behavior among students. Therefore, there is a significant gap in knowledge regarding the effectiveness of CRS in curbing examination malpractices and its potential contributions to fostering academic integrity.

In light of the persistent problem of examination malpractices in secondary schools within Bariga Local Government Area, and considering the potential ethical teachings and values embedded in Christian Religious Studies, this research seeks to investigate and propose effective strategies for integrating CRS into the educational system.

1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this study is to examine the role of Christian Religious Studies in curbing examination malpractice in Junior Secondary Schools in Bariga Local Government Area of Lagos State. The specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To examine the causes of examination malpractice in Junior Secondary Schools in Bariga.
  2. To determine the effects of examination practices on Junior Secondary School students in Bariga.
  • To discuss how Christian Religious Studies can curb moral decadence in Junior Secondary Schools in Bariga.
  1. To find out how Christian Religious Studies can curb examination malpractice in Junior Secondary Schools in Bariga.

1.4 Research Questions

            The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What are the causes of examination malpractice among Junior Secondary School students in Bariga?
  2. What are the effects of examination malpractice on Junior Secondary School students in Bariga?
  • How can Christian Religious Studies contribute to curbing moral decadence among Junior Secondary School students in Bariga?
  1. In what ways can Christian Religious Studies be utilized to address and reduce examination malpractice among Junior Secondary School students in Bariga?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

H01: There is no relationship between causes and examination malpractice among Junior Secondary School students in Bariga.

H02: There is no relationship between examination malpractice and its effects on Junior Secondary School students in Bariga

H03: There is no relationship between Christian Religious Studies and its contribution to curbing moral decadence among Junior Secondary School students in Bariga.

H04: There is no relationship between the utilization of Christian Religious Studies and its effectiveness in addressing and reducing examination malpractice among Junior Secondary School students in Bariga.

1.6 Significance of the study

This research will be beneficial to students, teachers, school administrators, parents/guardians, curriculum developers and future researchers and academics.

  1. Students: The primary beneficiaries would be the students themselves. If the study identifies effective strategies and interventions within the Christian Religious Studies curriculum that help in curbing examination malpractices, students can benefit from a fairer and more transparent examination system. They would also gain a deeper understanding of ethical values and integrity through their religious studies.
  2. Teachers: The study could help teachers identify ways to incorporate values of honesty, fairness, and integrity into their teaching practices. They may gain insights into innovative teaching methods, instructional materials, or classroom activities that could foster ethical behavior among students.
  3. School Administrators: The findings of the study could be useful for school administrators in formulating policies and guidelines to promote integrity and reduce examination malpractices. It may also help in identifying areas where additional support or resources are needed to create a conducive environment for ethical behavior.
  4. Parents/Guardians: The study’s outcomes could provide valuable information to parents and guardians about the role of Christian Religious Studies in shaping their children’s character and promoting ethical conduct. They may gain insights into how they can reinforce the values taught in religious studies at home.
  5. Curriculum Developers: The study’s findings may be relevant for curriculum developers and educational policymakers. If the research identifies effective approaches or interventions within the Christian Religious Studies curriculum, it may influence curriculum revisions and updates to incorporate strategies that address examination malpractices.
  6. Education Researchers and Scholars: The study itself could contribute to the existing body of knowledge on examination malpractices and the role of religious studies in promoting ethical behavior. Researchers and scholars in the field of education may benefit from the study’s methodology, findings, and recommendations for future research.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study covers role of Christian Religious Studies in curbing examination malpractice in Junior Secondary school students. The study will be restricted to Junior secondary schools in Bariga Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.8 Operational Definitions of Terms

The following terms are defined operationally as they as used in the research work:

Christian Religious Studies: For the purpose of this study, Christian Religious Studies refers to the academic subject or curriculum that focuses on the teachings, beliefs, practices, and values of the Christian faith. It includes topics such as biblical studies, Christian ethics, moral teachings, and religious principles.

Curbing examination malpractice: Curbing examination malpractice refers to the efforts and strategies aimed at preventing, reducing, or eliminating dishonest or unethical behavior during examinations among Junior Secondary School students. It involves implementing interventions, policies, and practices that promote integrity, ethical conduct, and fairness in the examination process.

Junior Secondary Schools: In this study, Junior Secondary Schools refer to educational institutions that provide education to students in the early adolescent years, typically covering grades 7 to 9 or equivalent, depending on the educational system or country under investigation.

Examination malpractice: Examination malpractice encompasses any dishonest or unethical behavior that occurs during the process of conducting or taking examinations. It includes activities such as cheating, plagiarism, impersonation, collusion, unauthorized access to examination materials, misconduct during exams, fabrication of results, external assistance, and exam leakage.

Role of Christian Religious Studies: The role of Christian Religious Studies refers to the potential impact, influence, and contributions of the Christian Religious Studies curriculum, teachings, and values in addressing, mitigating, or preventing examination malpractice among Junior Secondary School students. It involves exploring how the subject can foster ethical behavior, promote integrity, develop moral values, and instill a sense of responsibility and accountability in students.


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