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BEING A CHEATER


Dhriti Haloi

 

How many of us can say that “I have never cheated in any of my exams”? Well I think that’s quite a tough question to answer. To be honest almost everybody at least once in his or her lifetime must have tried their hands in this ignominious art. Competitive pressures are thrust upon children at a very tender age, carries on with them throughout high school and college. With so much pressure to stand out as the smartest in one’s class, some students may take that quantum leap to seize the opportunity to succeed at a price of integrity.

 

Cheating in school tests is quite a primitive problem of India. But, these problems literally scaled new heights recently when the news from eastern state of Bihar astonished and also ashamed the entire nation. The news revealed relatives of 10th-grade students climbed the wall of a school building and perched precariously from windows of classrooms as they handed cheating materials to children writing the tests inside.
Cheating is one of the common phenomena in schools in remote rural areas in India, where jobs and seats in college courses are few but competition is ferocious. However, the deadly sight of parents risking their life and limbs to climb the walls of a school just in order to provide the cheating materials shocked many, not only in India but all across the world. Under Bihar’s anti-cheating law, dozens of 12th-grade students were expelled and their parents detained in cases of cheating in tests. Many students in India drop out of school because they fail to pass the tough standardized tests in their 10th and 12th grades. Not just Bihar, in the year 2012, the campus of Harvard University was highly scandalized because of the suspension of more than 60 students in a government course. The scandal grabbed attention because of the shock value of the headline’s pairing: Harvard students and cheating. Perhaps cheating nowadays is not restricted to students of rural areas only but it is also prevalent in America’s most prestigious university too.

Being a Cheater
It can be said or believed that cheating rates are so high because too many university curriculums and courses are designed for cheating. And, based on current trends in college education it is likely to get worse. Also, as the internet makes cheating easier than ever and the college environment becoming more competitive how can cheating be stopped? Even that the cultural ideas may influence the prevalence of cheating, the best long-term solution may be to take a societal approach. For cheating to be reduced, instead of seeing cheating as something that can’t be done, the students must realize and acknowledge that it should not be done. Removing both the desire and habit to cheat, is the least immediately practical but most assured way of encouraging academic integrity.

 

In a recent study, researchers in psychology and education also have been slowly gathering evidence that certain features of the college curriculum, course design, and even daily classroom practice can either induce or reduce student cheating. In gaining a new understanding of the problem, they are opening the door to possible new solutions.

 

Another problem in most of the schools is rote learning. Rote learning turns students into parrots, capable of memorizing anything but understanding nothing. If rote learning is abolished, then cheating will vanish on its own. Students will only be able to succeed if they have understood the concepts taught, because their exam answers will have to reflect their understanding more, rather than their memory.

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