If we take a walk down memory lane, we will remember at least one incident in school that involved cheating. As a matter of fact, I doubt if any one can say that they never contemplated cheating or were almost influenced to cheat at least once during their school life.
With the evolution and revolution of technology, cheating has become an enterprise. If we understand why students cheat, then we can do our bit as parents and guardians to help our children understand why they should engage in the practice.
As a onetime teacher, I remember a very dear child, who was in primary 2 and had a test in my subject. He came to the class with a copy of all the answers of the questions that I had prepared to give them for the test because I have revised with them previously so they all have an idea of what the test questions would be like.
This student of mine placed the piece of paper on his desk confidently and started copying into his test paper. I was so amazed at the effrontery! I went straight to ask what he was doing and he replied, "I have copied all the answers here so I can copy it onto my test paper, I don’t want to forget any answers’’. As his teacher, I laughed out loud because the reply sounded so funny and he felt so confident that he was doing the right thing. I had to talk with this very smart kid; it took some explanation to convince him that he could not do that.
The first and utmost reason why students cheat is to enable them pass. I think the reason for assessments is lost on capitalism and the human capital, the school system appears to be a manufacturing plant for doctors, lawyers, bankers, engineers, artists, musicians etc. and the examinations separates the grade A from grade F.
The grade A products are sought for in the ‘Capitalist market’ and the system accepts examinations as a means of identifying these ‘excellent products’.
Definitely we can’t do away with assessments, which help the teacher understand how much of the instruction the students have grasped, but can you test knowledge by written examination?
Another reason students cheat is because they do not study. This happens a lot in our higher institutions and public schools. Remember those guys at school who had the ’cheat syndrome’? They would not attend most classes and the few they manage to show up in, they try to disrupt. They are usually not serious about their academic pursuits. They don’t want to study, but want to pass.
The truth is that the less we study, the higher the tendency we have to cheat; cheating cuts across boundaries, it knows no gender, tribe nor age. When a student is not interested in learning, he/she is bound to cheat.
Students cheat also to satisfy their parents. This reason in my opinion is the most ridiculous. However, it is the most common reason. Parents have this tendency to apply pressure on their wards about their grades. They want them to have ‘all A’s’, probably so that they can tell their mates about their intelligent children.
Most of these types of parents barely made average grades while in school themselves, but they are quick to forget that! It’s unbelievable that some parents actually threaten their children; thereby making them choose to engage in cheating so as to pass and please them.
Another factor that enboldens students to cheat that most people don’t know about is financial pressure. While one can honestly be empathic here, there is really no logical reason for cheating due to this factor. Some students are aware that their parents cannot afford to pay the official examination fees a second time and become determine to pass the examinations at all cost.
Lastly, students cheat when they are in an enabling system. As we all know in Nigeria, there are places called miracle centres. These centres are created for students who are lazy to sit down and study their books. They register with these miracle centres that 'aid' the registered students through an array of cheating methods in order for them to pass their exams and come out with good grades.
Amazingly, there are parents who support these centres in order for their wards to come out with flying colours. The question still remains; is it about passing examinations or retaining knowledge and skills? Who wants to be treated by a Medical Director who cheated through school?!
BY MAIMUNA BAGUDU