Cheating On Exams: Who is to Blame?
By Youssef Haddouchan
Morocco World News
Tinghir, Morocco, June 20, 2012
As the time of baccalaureates exams draws closer, the Moroccan Ministry of Education usually tries to convince the populace that it has come up with new strategies to combat cheating.
This year, the ministry has stated it will impose very hard punishment on any student caught cheating. But what the ministry seems to ignore is that the phenomenon of cheating is a byproducts of its frail education. Cheating will never be uprooted unless there is a watershed phase in people’s mindset and in the whole system of education.
Most people have laid a lot of blame on students who cheated on Bac exams. But to what extent is this blame legitimate. Are they the only ones to be reprimanded for cheating?
Indeed, they are partly responsible for it. But to lay the whole blame on them is, to my mind, a theoretical simplification, to use Bhabha’ words. Doctors who want to treat, for example, a certain illness, attempt first to diagnose or trace its origin, then start to fight it. However, people reproach Bac students, ignoring totally the social and historical factors that contributed to the development of this notorious habit.
It goes without saying that cheating is a shrewd form of theft. Decent people do not rob, nor do they cheat. This may imply that those who cheat in life are not decent people. That is a possible hypothesis.
But when it comes to cheating on exams, we should question the quality of education they receive. Students who receive a good education are normally equipped with enough tools to answer exam questions; thus they will not resort to cheating.
Conclusively, the corruption and frailty of the Moroccan education system remains the main, and not the sole, root of the spread of cheating on exams.
Cheating has dire repercussions on the future of Moroccan society as a whole. We take it for granted that education is the bedrock of any society in that prosperity and progress hinges on it. Nonetheless, when a country’s education system is corrupt, meritocracy and equality, which are considered as the major criteria for admission in universities, institutes, and the job market, will be no more than a fig leaf. Students who cheat on exams and have excellent marks have more chances than those who do not cheat, for the aforementioned institutions consider grades as the first criterion for admitting applicants. Cheating is thus a dirty game, which benefits its players but affects the future of millions of Moroccan youth.
In a nutshell, change comes from within and never from without. Uprooting social ills such as cheating cannot be done by exerting silly punishment – like imprisonment – on students. Students cheat because they are not enlightened; they are not well educated either in home or schools. They need not knowledge. What they need is how to use that knowledge as the saying goes, “Teach me how to fish and do not give me fish.”
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.