If we take a walk down memory lane, we will remember at least one incidence in school that involved cheating.
I think with technological evolution and revolution, cheating has become an enterprise. If we understand why students cheat then we can do our bit as parents to help our children understand why they should not.
I remember a very dear child, who was in primary 1 and had a test. He had copied all answers on a piece of paper. He put the piece paper on his desk confidently, and started copying into his test paper. The teacher was amazed at the effrontery! She went to him to ask what he was doing.
His reply? “ I have copied all the answers here so I can copy in my test paper, I don’t want to forget any answer!” As a counselor, I had the privilege of talking with this very smart kid; it took some explanation to convince him that he could not do that.
So that is the first answer to our question here. Students cheat because they want to pass. I think the reason for assessments is lost on capitalism and the human capital. The School system appears to be a manufacturing plant for doctors, lawyers, bankers, engineers, artists, musicians etc . And the examinations separate the grade A from grade F.
The grade A products are sought for in the ‘Capitalist’s market” and the system accepts examinations as a means of identifying these “excellent products”. Definitely we can’t do away with assessments, which help the teacher understand how much of the instruction the students have grasped, but can you test knowledge by Examinations? This is highly debatable.
Sometimes we cheat because we do not prepare. Remember those guys at school who had a “ cheat syndicate “. They would not attend most classes and the few they manage to show up in, they try to disrupt. They are usually not serious about their academic pursuits. They don’t want to know, they just want to pass.
The truth is that we all have the tendency to cheat; Cheating cuts across boundaries, it knows no gender, tribe nor tongue. The second reason is that students cheat because they are not interested in learning.
This reason in my opinion is the most ridiculous however it is the most common reason. Parents have this tendency to apply pressure on their wards about their grades. They want them to have “ all A’s” , probably so that they can tell their mates about their ”intelligent children”.
Most of these types of parents barely made average grades in school but they are quick to forget that! Its unbelievable, but some parents actually threaten their children and therefore engage in cheating so as to please them.
Honestly, one can be empathic here, but there is really no logical reason for cheating. Some students are aware that their parents cannot afford to pay the official examination fees a second time and become determined to pass at any cost. The question is if they study will they not pass? External examinations are not “written in Greek”. They are simply opportunities to “teach what they have been taught”.
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There are “miracle centers” as they are called in Nigeria, where the students come out “in flying colors”, with very little effort. The system encourages the students by helping them cheat. Some Schools encourage this to obtain excellent results, which is a selling point to parents. Amazingly, there are parents who support such. Is it about passing examinations or retaining knowledge and skill, though? Who wants to be treated by a Medical Doctor that cheated right through school?
There was a BBC documentary on the 3 of May 2018 on the quite famous “EduBirdie” that helps students write school essays for a fee. This “Contract Cheating “ (named by Professor Clarke of the Birmingham City University, who has done broad research on it, by the way), has plagued the United Kingdom tertiary Institutions for years.
Despite threats of expulsion for students who engage in this form of cheating, it is still going on. This “industry” helps students write essays and submit them as originals, but they have cleverly put a disclaimer insisting that they only write “frameworks” for the students to follow. Despite the overwhelming evidence, its still business as usual for contract cheating firms in the UK, where laws on plagiarism are rigid.
Here in Nigeria, where I am unaware of “rigid” laws, there are a number of websites that claim to offer answers to test papers, which, by the way, are yet to be conducted. How they have access to these remains a mystery. These websites have been up for years now, and just like many other issues of concern, my beloved Nation has her head buried in the sand, like an Ostrich.
These cheating industries will eventually affect the validity of our official examination scores, if not dealt with decisively. I believe that the parents can help by seeing to it that their wards are not involved in this vice.
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Written by Bo Adesoye.