By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, June 13, 2013
With the advent of technology, life has been made easier for many people, including teachers and students. Use of technology has become an integral part of quality-based education all over the world. Yet, this does not necessarily mean that it will serve us well all the time. Technology, like most tools that represent societal “progress”, has both advantages and drawbacks.
It all depends on how we use it. Think of distance learning. If it were not for this blessing called technology, no one would benefit from this kind of learning. At the same time, think of ‘distance cheating’. If it were not for advanced technology, such sophisticated cheating would be impossible, and it would not be plaguing our schools the way it does today.
We often hear that Moroccans are technologically inclined. Some of them are even known as technological geniuses, that rare breed of IT masters. A good example of this is the presence of Moroccan hackers on the notorious Israeli pirating website (among others). Did you hear about the Moroccans who stole money from foreign bank accounts? Have you heard of the Moroccans living abroad? They show their genius on a daily basis working in the fields of information technology, research, and science for powerhouses like NASA.
Despite all of this positive progress, our education system is simply not moving forward. We have not heard that technology which contributes considerably to the world’s education has improved our education system. This technology and IT training have improved global society perhaps, but my question is: has it improved our education system?
It is a real pity that many Moroccan youths misuse technology. They use it, not necessarily to research areas of knowledge, but to hack into someone’s Facebook account or to sell pirated DVDS. They use it, not necessarily to share knowledge and help produce it, but to comment on a photo and use Photoshop to change it. They use it to cheat, copy exam photos, and to invade other individuals’ privacy. They don’t utilize the immense wealth of information on the Internet, for example, to expand their knowledge of the world around them. They use it as a lazy short cut to alleged “success.”
They use it, not necessarily to create pages where students learn from one another, study, exchange knowledge, but to “like” of Baccalaureate leak exams, copy answers and send them to their friends and classmates who are taking the exams.
Instead of using this power for the purpose of learning and improving our ignominious educational levels, some Moroccan students have tarnished the image of our education system even more by cheating and helping others cheat. The crux of the matter is that the exceptional students who truly succeed are negatively affected by the increasing number of cheaters. There is solidarity in cheating, not in learning, when it comes to Moroccan youth.
Whether we like it or not, more cheating cases have been recorded, and the fact that Morocco’s Minister of Education, Mohamed El Ouafa, himself admitted to the cases, simply gives us the impression that more cheating has gone unrecorded in other parts of Morocco.
Some might say that we must not generalize and say that cheating is everywhere in Moroccan schools. However, in my experience, it really is a frighteningly ubiquitous phenomenon. A large number of students are simply waiting for the opportunity to cheat. And if they are given this chance, they will not hesitate to cheat. This is a deep rooted problem relating to our education system, but also relating to our code of ethics in everyday life. A very small number of students adopt the principle not to cheat. Cheating, for poor students, is an escape. Cheating, for these students, is a new form of success. Cheating, for such students, is, strange as it may seem,the key to higher education. Cheating, be it traditional or distant, leads to undeserved success.
In the presence of a deplorable education system, students mistake undeserved success for deserved success. And the recruiting committee mistakes Baccalaureate diplomas for certificates of success. The Ministry of Education, for its part, mistakes an average percentage of success on Baccalaureate exams as a sign of progress in Morocco’s education system. They, also, are looking for easy and fast solutions to challenging problems.
Parents themselves go on to say that their children have succeeded without knowing that their success is a result of dishonesty. Nearly everyone is tricked into believing that cheating is the exception, not the rule.
If the majority of students honestly succeed, as many claim, then our education system must at least obtain an average ranking in the world’s education ranking. But, in fact, it does not. Since the majority of students in some way or another cheat, our education reforms are continuously deemed a failure and the recruiting committee continues to be astounded by the staggeringly low level of diploma holders and qualified candidates.
Only monitors at universities, high schools and primary schools can really testify to the number of cheaters. UNESCO bases its reports on the field trips and visits it pays to these monitors, whereas our Ministry bases its reports of success on numbers and percentages.
Here, we may ask: Can only the students be held accountable for the massive spread of cheating? Of course not! The Ministry of Education has taught students this culture of cheating when it itself cheats them by not teaching them well. In other words, is it really so shocking that our students have resorted to cheating when our government has utterly failed to foster a successful learning environment with properly trained teachers and well-thought out curriculum?
How can we expect students not to cheat if they are not properly taught how to learn? How can we expect students not to cheat if the Ministry recruits and sends untrained and unqualified teachers into classrooms? How can we expect students not to cheat when they know that success at Moroccan schools is the only key to higher education and a better life? This is ultimately a systemic problem of dishonesty and corruption at all level of Moroccan society. How can we expect students to be honest, when our government is not?
Let us teach students appropriately and show them the importance of deserved success in education. We must investigate the motives that lead students to cheat instead of simply looking at the cheating cases. All of us, psychologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, educators, trainers, must attempt to fully comprehend this phenomenon. Without coming to grips with the cheating phenomenon, we cannot succeed in eradicating it.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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