Sunday, January 29, 2012

Why Do Students Cheat?

*Personally I'd never cheated in the university, so now I can write an article without guilt to excoriate those who had. 

Cheating comes in many forms -- cheating during exams, copying someone else's assignment, signing attendance for a friend who's absent, etc. Somehow after they had cheated, they wouldn't want their honest friends to label them as dishonest, preferring to use the term cooperation, reference, and even friendship.

Whether we like it or not, we have to admit that cheating is a global phenomenon. Everybody cheats. Businessmen, artists, lawyers, tax collectors, students. The temptation of taking an easier route is always there, albeit not always towards success. And ironically we're always demanding for an honest government to handle important decisions, passing bills, make our lives better--that's a perfect example of cheaters demanding some cheaters to be honest.

What can we do to curb the problem? Educate, of course, is easier said than done.

A survey done by Donald McCabe, a professor of management and global business at Rutgers Business School shows that one of the reasons students cheat is because the professional world tells them it's okay to do so. In this era where information can be transmitted and received within a blink of an eye, students get to see how successful entrepreneurs earn millions, if not billions, from cheating. Business talks and conferences always emphasize on hard work and perseverance, but rarely, if any at all, encourage the attendees to be honest.
The same is happening in colleges and universities. Students cheat because everyone is doing the same-- the u jump, I jump attitude. Honesty is not rewarded, and cheaters go on to obtain honors and recommendations despite having the same level of mental capabilities as their ethical C-grade friends. The administration isn't willing to confront the cheaters, whose future they claim would be affected if their unethical act is recorded. And not forgetting those evaluation systems, which enable cheaters' friends to nail the lecturer in return for sanctioning the students for academic dishonesty.

Of course there are circumstances when a student is forced to be unethical. A class full of cheaters, frustratingly difficult subject, and professors-who-are-afraid-of-low-evaluation-marks could always tempt a good student away from the honest realm. The thing is, if left unchecked, this behavior will be embedded within our subconscious, and these cheaters will one day go out to become lawyers, engineers, scientists, politicians, and most ironically, teachers.
So it's down to the student themselves to determine whether they would want to be a part of the plague, or to be ethical. Nice guys do indeed finish last.


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