By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, June 14, 2012
As a rule, on the occasion of Baccalaureate examinations of 2012, the Ministry of Education has taken the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of cheating among Bac candidates. Nearly all schools are equipped with banners in their halls clearly warning against using sophisticated means of cheating, such as cell phones, mini-laptops and other gadgets.
Notwithstanding, like every year, the more the Ministry warns against cheating, the more rampant the phenomenon becomes. So, the solution might not lie in imposing strict measures. Instead, it lies in adopting a more enlightening policy.
To our consternation, it is another cry like any other cry emitted in the presence of an ignominiously deplorable education. The cry is getting shriller and shriller as more students resort to cheating to attain success. Believe it or not, wherever you go in Morocco, you may catch the majority of students cheating.
Now, even some industrious science students do the same when they sit for a literary subject on the grounds that it is not their specialty. This academic year hasn’t elapsed until it has broken another new record of cheating in Bac examinations. Teachers inside the examination room observe the education system lying on the deathbed.
We are not necessarily discussing the root causes of cheating, as we are already tired of hearing them and raising them among each other. We must instead be concerned with another tragic blow to our education this year. The majority of Bac candidates cheated, and this is not a secret that only hypocrites keep. It is the plain truth.
We have all read about the recent leakage of some Bac exams with answer keys on Facebook several minutes soon after the start of the examination. A circular was expressly launched on this issue. Frankly, it is a tragedy when the transparency and equal chances we have always fought for have come to no fruition.
Now that the leakage occurred, and what was done was done, we must then take it for granted that a large number of Bac candidates will obtain their Baccalaureate effortlessly and undeservedly. These students will soon go to study at university as empty vessels as has been the case for many years.
Of course, there are exceptions that prove the rule, but what is the use of the exceptions at a time when the success of Bac students has always been rendered questionable? What is the use of the exceptions when the tragic blow already ricocheted off towards the education system.
Form my viewpoint, wrong are those who think that the blow will be avoided by taking and imposing strict measures, reporting cheaters to the administration, and penalizing cheaters with disallowing the pursuit of studying. Yet, the strict rule in question is seldom applied.
Quite the contrary, the occurrence of cheating can be solved in the same way that other developed countries have solved it, where students do not allow themselves to cheat even if their exam papers are accompanied with an answer key. It is simply then a matter of principles around which the heart of the matter turns. High school students aren’t principled enough to avoid cheating on their own without having anyone sitting by them and watching over them.
Regrettably, the principle we lack is not the act of invigilating painstakingly so that no one moves. Rather, it is teaching students in the most proper way possible and creating the best conditions for a better tuition, the effect of the latter would be that students will no longer be in dire need of cheating.
What matters as well is educating these students and instilling on them the love of education so that they would adopt a new academic life, that of preferring studying and exerting themselves hard over cheating.
What is cogently a living proof to this is the last academic year when students did not study well enough owing to the excessive strikes teachers went on. Yet, the percentage of success was unprecedentedly high, amounting to 63%. This anomaly only leads us to think the other way around. Suppose, for instance, that no Bac candidate cheated, that the invigilators were strict, and that the exam graders corrected the exam papers fairly. Would Bac students succeed with the same degree? Certainly not.
Here, what is worth bearing in mind is that these students wouldn’t succeed with the same extent, not necessarily because they do not cheat, but because they have not been taught properly well throughout the school days. Consequently, the reality we, strict and lenient invigilators, must well remember is that either with or without close invigilation, it will make no difference.
Strict invigilation leads to a low degree of success and then to the interference of the Education Ministry, which is responsible for sending a certain number of students to university, empty-headed, whereas lenient invigilation leads to undeserved success, which the Ministry claims to applaud as deserved, but which has led us nowhere but to another tragic blow to our education system. Soon, we will all feel the repercussions of this new tragic blow. Time will tell.
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