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A Culture of Dishonesty


· Volume I Issue I

Cheating is in every corner of the academic façade. For many years, teachers and parents have been alarming about it. Why do pupils cheat in as early as elementary and what we can do to make them stop?

In educational setting, cheating is one of the academic dishonesty or the academic misconduct that occurs in relation to a formal academic exercise. Academic dishonesty has been documented in most every type of educational setting, from elementary school to graduate school, and has been met with varying degrees of approbation throughout history. Today, educated society tends to take a very negative view of academic dishonesty.

Lamentably, there is so many affirmation and studies that cheating has increased in the last few years, and one of the reason is the Internet which is likely to augment the problem. It's also unfortunate that the people who worry about cheating often contribute to it. Parents who want their children to be successful in school can put so much pressure on the child which resort them to cheating. Learners believe that many teachers who see cheating look the other way, sending the message that cheating is acceptable. To which a teacher might reply, with considerable justice, that school boards, superintendents, and principals often fail to back them up when they are faced with angry parents whose child has been accused of cheating. And almost daily, the media give big play to all kinds of cheating carried out by adults in positions of authority.

The problem starts early and increases as students move through school. It has also increased significantly at almost every level of our educational system in the last few decades. The increase in cheating over time is confirmed by many studies conducted.

In the Philippines, most kinds of cheating are extremely common. Studies show that cheating among public school students is consistently higher than among private school students. Maybe the function of school or classroom size has something to do with it. Public schools are generally larger than private schools, and this was true of schools in the Philippines. The often-noted anonymity of big schools may make it easier for students to disguise cheating from fellow students and, more important, from teachers. Common sense suggests that students who do not fear detection are more likely to cheat, and prior research confirms this.

Some of the reasons why pupils cheat is the pressure from parents as pupils prepare to apply to high school is one; the difficulty of the lessons and material being taught is another. Parents may send a similar message, not only by putting too much pressure on their children, but also by failing to emphasize the importance of academic honesty. Some parents even look the other way when they think their child may have cheated, or they blindly defend their child if a teacher accuses the youngster of academic dishonesty.

What shall we do to eradicate this culture of dishonesty amongst our youngster? Many people believe that greater vigilance and more severe punishments are the solutions to student cheating. These tactics are likely to reduce cheating and that is certainly a worthwhile goal but they won't touch the attitudes that lead to cheating. To be able to do that, schools need to change the culture that accepts cheating as a matter of course and replace it with one that places a higher value on academic honesty.

The school, together with the parents should develop standards that are communicated to all members of the school community. Build a systematic procedure for handling alleged violations and get a commitment, especially from the school administration, to adhere to and enforce these standards.

But these steps will lead nowhere unless the school also sponsors programs that promote academic integrity.