Mystery Solved: Why Students Cheat?

Posted on May 30, 2011
Filed Under >Tamashbeen, Education
Total Views: 76485


Have you ever wondered why students, specially Pakistani students, cheat. A news reporter from The Express Tribune has finally cracked the mystery. ‘We cheat only to pass our exams’ screams the headline. In case you did not already know, students cheat only because they need to pass their exams, otherwise they would never do such a thing!

One should, of course, not be unfair to the newspaper reporter. The headline is in quotes, after all. However, after reading all the surreal student quotes in the story one is left dumbfounded. Supposedly, the students in their responses were serious about what they were saying in trying to explain and justify why they ‘have to’ cheat.

According to the students interviewed in the story, the fault lies with everyone and everything except themselves: the pesky issue of having to pass exams; the fact that its easier to cheat than to study; teachers because they do not do their job; private and government schools disparity; studies are too ‘complicated’. The solutions suggested are even more wonderful: lets abolish grades and just do pass/fail; lets instill fear of God in people. Amazing stuff from the custodians of our future!

Here are some excerpts from The Express Tribune story which is about the Higher Secondary Certificate exams in Sukhur:

The students argue, however, that they “cheat only to pass exams.”

“It’s easier to copy and paste than to cudgel your brains recalling what you have studied and remember,” says Hassan, a student of a leading private college. But for Akhtar Ali the blame for cheating falls squarely on the shoulders of the teachers, who do not do their job properly. “While giving lessons at evening tuition centres, they don’t have any problem answering a thousand questions. During a lecture at the college, however, even a single query ruffles them.”

Zulqarnain, a pre-engineering student of a government institute, blames the disparity of education standards between private and government colleges as well as a lack of admissions prospects at universities. “My parents can’t afford a private college. I need a good percentage to get admission in an engineering university as thousands of students are pitted against each other for a few hundred seats.”

Some students find fault with their course books, which they say are more complicated than the guides that contain simple answers. “The examiner expects us to pen memorised answers which are set down in the guides,” says one student.

… The students proposed remedies to reinvigorate the process of learning. Hassan opines that, “The system of board examinations from class IX should be abandoned and replaced by the semester system.” Seconding this view, Shiraz says that after being checked by the examiner, the papers should be handed over to the parents.

Zulqarnain proposes that the grading and percentage system should be abolished and a student should only be declared as either having passed or failed. Athar argues that the fear of God would work wonders as well. “Cheating is a sin which students will not commit if they fear God,” he argues.

I guess if the students quoted in this story are the ones to go by, we now know why students cheat: because they are just plain stupid!

17 responses to “Mystery Solved: Why Students Cheat?”

  1. Durrani says:

    Amazing how callous these young students are in trying to defend and explain why they cheat without even felling shameful at the fact that THEY ARE CHEATERS!

  2. SAM says:

    Correct,less affluent society people are more inclined towards this cheating thing and may be in the more sophisticated society where the upper most privilege brats dont want to study at all ,and want to pass these exams by would be much better if a system would be implemented in Pakistani education system mostly on the conceptual side and based down it mostly on BCQS and Mcqs.,this would highly reduce the rate of cheating

  3. Eidee Man says:

    Disagree with the view that cheating is rampant because teachers, etc emphasize rote learning or otherwise fail to motivate students. These problems are certainly there, but note that even in countries like China and India, most learning up to and including the college level, is by rote; and even their students cheat — if given the opportunity. There are many, many documented examples of massive fraud and academic dishonesty with the GRE test, local exams, and even by established investigators in major scientific journals.

    In some sense, cheating is a reflection of the student’s society. Students in less affluent societies are more likely to cheat, because that’s what everyone else around them does, albeit in different ways, by taking bribes, evading taxes, committing fraud, etc.

    So, in the short term, the only way to address cheating is to make the students face dire consequences for committing these acts. I think this is more possible than many people think it is. Until not too long ago, undeserving students with the right connections, etc could easily secure admission into top government colleges. But as I understand, this has now reduced dramatically, with parents of deserving students taking the matter to court. Perhaps similarly motivated students and parents can take the same route to protect the value of their degree from being diluted?

  4. Kazmi says:

    Well said Bushra. My first reaction was the same. It is not just the cheating but this idea (which we ALL have) that all our problems and faults are because fo someone else. That is the root of our malady.

  5. Bushra says:

    IN this and so many things, we are teaching these young people not only to cheat but (what is even more disturbing) to not take responsibility themselves but blame someone else.

    They are doing what everyone does in Pakistan, making someone else (government, politicians, military, Umreeka, Israel, RAW) the cause of their own bad behavior. Someone else is always to blame, not we ourselves!

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