One of the hardest-hit sectors, because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, is the education sector. The ongoing closure of educational institutions in the country has been extended till November 14.
However, the government ordered all educational institutions to conduct online classes. Education has been disrupted due to unstable internet connections, difficulty in understanding the mechanism, cost and unavailability of devices. But, students and teachers still tried to cope with all hurdles.
Nonetheless, the problem is how examinations can be conducted on online platforms because, in addition to other issues, there is a colossal probability of students cheating in the online examination.
As a result, public universities are planning to take two-semester finals together, while schools will evaluate students with dint of assignments instead of conducting final tests. In my judgment, copying or plagiarising for obtaining good grades is a far more alarming issue which creates a hindrance to assessing students studying on online platforms.
Before delving into the main discussion, we need to ask ourselves why students tend to cheat in examination instead of depending on themselves for getting good scores? Is it because families societies and schools are continuously failing to offer them a suitable learning environment that will enlighten their mind genuinely and ensure mental growth? Is our existing curriculum somehow pushing students to cheat?
The aforementioned factors will guide us to the crux of the main discussion. First of all, while learning should be the optimum outcome of education, in our society, it is evaluated in terms of grades and ranking. The pressure of being the best builds up in a child's mind from an early age and as time lapses, they get stuck in and cannot get out of this bubble.
For instance, students who achieve the first position in the class or get golden A+ in SSC and HSC gets honour and approval from society. On the other hand, those who involve in extra-curricular activities such as debate or music do not get enough motivation from elders as they think such activities can hamper one's academic life.
Hence, securing the best position instead of gaining knowledge is the main deal in our country and it has become a culture. As a result, the future leaders of the country start to think that academic books are the only source of knowledge and they turn obsessed toward achieving good results. Thus, the pressure of "obtaining best results at any cost" influences students to copy or cheat in the exams.
Secondly, our society does not know that every human being has a unique potential. It does not understand that weak academic grades are not a sign of weakness.
The society does not know that it is normal that some pupils cannot concentrateon studies for a long time. It is a matter of great sorrow that parents sometimes do not understand and are extremely adamant in this regard.
From early childhood, every child is pressured to study beyond the capability as if everyone is destined to achieve the first position in the class. As the pressure builds up, it instigates children to cheat in exams.
Additionally, huge syllabus, exam-centric evaluation without any fun also precipitate youngsters to copy and make the whole process difficult. This is the main reason why some students choose the heinous path of cheating.
A person as well as the whole nation carries the load of reverberations of plagiarising committed by students as they are familiar with the concept of examination since the beginning of their schooling.
Though there is no research in Bangladesh on the relationship between cheating in exam and flagrant degradation of morality, it can still be said that if children start cheating in an exam, they can also choose the path of crime and corruption when they grow up.
They may fail to draw a clear-cut discrepancy between right and wrong as they have been habituated to follow the unscrupulous path from the beginning of their student life.
Furthermore, cheating makes a student lose the capability to judge his/her personality and talent. Instead, he/she depends on others and is constantly sceptical about their personalities.
As a result, their world shrinks and they become backboneless and narrow-minded which pushes them to take emotional and unrealistic decisions. In the long run, they become incapable to tackle the ups and downs of life and eventually has to face any problems.
Still, the government is not giving priority to this issue. In some cases, it has been seen that educational institutions are facilitating students by giving them a chance to copy and achieve good results.
Moreover, some renowned schools and colleges choose unlawful means to make sure that their students get full during lab exams in both SSC and HSC level. This type of cheating occurs indirectly and usually remain unaddressed.
An eclectic research is needed to find the relationship and impact between cheating in the examination from early childhood and the later life.
To wrap up the whole discussion, in a bid to find the remedy of cheating, at first, government and elder citizens of society should identify this as a severe issue and be aware of the ramifications of plagiarising, vividly.
Generation gap should not be the matter of concern to design a curriculum, befitting and full of fun, when the main goal is to establish quality education that will build future leaders fulfilled with moral ethics.
So, guardians and seniors should be more tolerant and come out of the box to explore how the world is changing because ultimately the onus is on them to give a positive vibe of education to juniors.
They should understand that besides getting good grades, engaging in extracurricular activities, and keeping a balance in both makes a student more practical. Parents' easy-going mentality will lead children to reap the benefits in future as they learn to follow the natural flow of life.
The government should provide stricter invigilation in exam halls and a healthy environment of acquiring knowledge by reshaping exam-centric evaluation processes, where a student will derive the highest utility to achieve results by dint of his calibre, even though the result is not extraordinary, but not by cheating.
Thus, the main goal of education, producing human beings with moral characters and adequate knowledge will be attained, and the odious cheating issue will be circumvented as well.
Tahsin Shahriar is a contributor