By Abderrahim Ezraidi
By Abderrahim Ezraidi
Rabat – Now that the baccalaureate exams are less than a month away, the frowned upon subject of cheating on exams is dominating the conversation. Rumor has it that a new proposed law is going to be issued stipulates that “any student caught in the act of cheating will face from a month to a year in prison, with a fine up to MAD 5,000.”
Before placing all the blame on these students, we should bear in mind that they are taught by a number of teachers who do not have a good grasp of what they teach. This is just one of our education system’s weaknesses leads to serious repercussions. The rampant phenomenon of cheating is yet another example.
According to the government’s definition, cheating is “a form of fraud in exams to get a certificate or national diploma.” So, isn’t cheating in teaching and professional competence tests a form of fraud, too? Despite future teachers being selected from a considerable number of graduate students, many candidates find it hard to pass the written test. Because they strongly desire employment, and as the examination takes place only once a year, they have no choice but to cheat, which they can do easily as the exam is taken without surveillance. As long as cheating is seen as a passport to success, making a habit of it is, without doubt, something much expected.
These teachers should therefore be brave enough to do as they urge their students to do when they take a professional competence test. The law should be applicable in these tests as well, if the government really believes in transparency and equal opportunities, and if it really wants our children to receive a good education.
Lately, many criticisms have been directed at teachers in this regard. It is argued that they cheat in tests, even though they are tested on areas of knowledge they must already be acquainted with. Mainly, this is the reason for not having good teachers, and a testament to the unsatisfactory situation of Moroccan education. Unfortunately, this happens year after year when tomorrow’s teachers sit for the national teaching test, as what matters most is immediate success instead of long-term results. This raises the question of what students can expect of such teachers.
The perspective on this career has changed over the last few years. The objective of teaching nowadays is not only to fill the mind of students with information; rather, the focus is on how to engage the students. They look for a teacher who has the skills to grasp their attention, endear them to the subject at hand and whet their appetite to learn more. Effective teaching, which entails a good command of the relevant subject matter, is a major reason why students prefer one teacher to another.
Let’s take the case of the Moroccan teachers of English. Honestly, a number of high school teachers of this language are unable to write an error-free essay due to lacking a basic understanding of English. They still suffer from punctuation difficulties because they cannot differentiate between types of clauses or sentences, not to mention their problems with tenses. No wonder these teachers will negatively affect their students.
Whenever students are asked about the hurdles they encounter when it comes to learning English as a foreign language, they often say, “We do not have good teachers.” In fact, other difficulties than the teacher-associated ones were expected, but when some grammatical mistakes and other misconceptions about pronunciation rules provided by their teachers appear on their English course books, then it becomes clear that there is a lot of truth in what the students say.
This tells us one thing about this kind of teachers: they have arrived to this position through cheating and nothing else. It is crystal clear that such teachers can teach their students only mistakes, and their students only nod as a false indication that they have understood everything, as they have qualms about asking their teacher to clarify things. Eventually, students become the scapegoats in this story. There is a strong possibility that they will either resort to cheating or else they will fail their exams, and, of course, they are the ones blamed, not their teachers.
On the other hand, it is nonsense to say that all the Moroccan teachers need to learn what they teach. It goes without saying that there are teachers in public as well as private schools who command great respect and deserve to be hailed as great educators.
But still the issue at hand remains: as the number of inefficient teachers is on the rise, the increasing number of students who cheat in exams is to be expected.
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