Dubbing, Scopes, Expo, Giraffing, –if you have passed through the Nigerian school system you are sure to have come across these slangs being thrown around or you might have even used them yourself. Cheating, as we have witnessed in schools, encompasses homework, class tests, school exams and government board exams ; and with the internet making things a lot faster and easier for everyone, plagiarism and electronic cheating can easily be done without the educator even realizing the act has been perpetuated. As cheating in schools grows to epidemic proportions, Nigerian private schools are not spared from its onslaught. In fact in their own warped form of parent- teacher association, there have been many reported incidences of parents and teachers colluding to help students gain unfair advantage on tests and exams. So why do students cheat? What can you as a school administrator do to prevent cheating in your school? Read on, as we analyze this pressing issue and outline the three major reasons why students cheat and methods you can adopt to prevent and curb this now.
All the Accolades, None of the Effort
Most students want all the credit that comes with having good grades without actually putting in the work. When it comes to homework or projects, students are typically caught plagiarizing by lifting whole pages of text from guide books or even going online to copy and rephrase other people’s work. The average student today is lethargic when it comes to doing any sort of work – home work, school work, house work, you name it. Growing up in the internet age where years of manual labor have been reduced and automated to a single click of a button has helped reinforce this mentality in their minds. And so when it comes to tests and exams, their thoughts are focused erroneously on how to get the most results – good grades, in the shortest amount of time without putting in the work – studying and practicing. Cheating to get ahead is the best route for this students.
What’s in it for me?
With the likes of Big Brother Nigeria and fast-to-fame musicians gracing their television screens, students are gradually losing faith and trust in the traditional and academic route to success. Students in this age have idolized celebrities who make it to the limelight without passing through traditional route of academics and respectable careers, or without having put in substantial amount of academic work to gain success. The typical student has now accepted that academic excellence does not equate to success in the future and has set his mind to doing whatever it takes to rush through the system and start working on other routes to success. So while in school, they cheat because they do not see the overall value of the system, and want to “fulfill all righteousness” to please their parents, educators and school/government boards.
All A+, no A-
Unrealistic expectations from parents and educators, also contribute to the high rate of cheating in schools. Students typically feel pressured to achieve academic feats that are beyond their cognitive capacity. Parents are the number one source of this pressure, which they pile on by verbally and sometimes physically assaulting their children or by unfairly comparing them to their mates. This negatively affects the child’s self-esteem and puts them under undue pressure to perform in order to maintain a peaceful state at home. Teachers are also not spared from this as they are constantly being pressured by school administrators to deliver top performing students consistently every year. This pressure trickles down from the teachers to the students again, and adds to the overwhelming pressure faced by students. Students end up cheating in order to please both parties in such a situation.
So, what can be done about this?
First and foremost, schools must develop and enforce zero tolerance policies for cheating and ensure that teachers are on the forefront of enforcement. Schools must stay vigilant and updated on all the new forms of cheating especially electronic cheating and online plagiarism as students now have unlimited and unsupervised access to mobile phones and the internet. Weave ethical behavior lessons into the curriculum thereby inspiring students to act ethically when it comes to cheating and plagiarism, not just in class and in the here and now, but also in the future in their careers and businesses. Teachers also, must make the whole learning experience and curriculum exciting and engaging while teaching real life value and application of every topic taught in the classroom. Students must be counseled to understand the important role academics and education plays in the lives and future career paths.
While strong and effective disciplinary actions are necessary, it is imperative that school administrators properly understand the problem of cheating in their schools and what motivates students to perpetuate these acts. In so doing you will be able to properly address the situation with any of our suggested approaches or any other method that you feel will suit your school. How are you dealing with cheating in your school? Let us know in the comment below.
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