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Use of Unfair Means (Cheating) in Examinations

by Vijay Garg
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Education System is a tool that enables people to lead productive lives according to their talents and interests. For Education systems to be fully effective it must give an individual the training of a independence and leadership. At the same time, it should provide for the development of all the vocational abilities needed for the creation of a progressive and democratic society. The quality of education that is imparted to youths contribute largely to the formation of their attitudes. So whatever kind of education is imparted will determine the quality and nature of the educated youth coming out of the schools, colleges and universities. Education is a great builder and if it is deficient or decadent it can be a destroyer too. History is proof of such deficiencies or lack in education. Greece and Rome were once world leaders owing to the fact that these were great centres of learning and education. But when these centres ceased to exist it resulted in the downfall of these empires.
If current education systems are to be evaluated they too suffer from various shortcomings and faults, though there are still many exceptions. Nonetheless, there is a need to address and end the malpractices that are commonly committed during examinations. These malpractices are at the pre-conduct, conduct and evaluation stages and range from leakage of question papers to copying, changing answer books, impersonation, misconduct in examination centre, approaching invigilators/examiners, making false entries in award list/ examination registers and issuing fake certificate/degrees etc. The use of unfair means in the examination is a trend that isn’t going to end soon.
The whole system of education revolves around Examinations which play a pivotal role in the success or failure of the system. They are also the barometers of the success or failure of students. The resort to copying and use of other unfair means/ malpractices in examinations is a serious problem which needs an immediate solution. This problem is like a disease in our educational system which is messing up the future of the youth and the society as a whole as well.
Why do Students Resort to Unfair Means?
Fear of Failure: The fear of is one of the top reason for some students to cheat in exams. Some’ students anticipate a lot of problems if they fail the exams. Their fear dwells in their parents complain about bad grades, their friends mocking and a possible dark future too. They get stressed and the end result is cheating in exams. 
Lack of Ability: There are few students who have no potential of taking up the challenge of exams. Low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence cause them to cheat. Instead of studying hard, paying attention to classes, reviewing lessons and doing exercises they cheat in exams.
Lack of Interest: Some students have no interest in studies at all. They find it useless as they know that they are going to take over their father’s business or follow traditional family business after their studies. For them, school is just a formality and a pass time. They find no need to study and cheating seems to be an easy way out.
Cheating for Fun & Show-off: Some students cheat in exams is because enjoy taking risks. It sounds ridiculous but in reality, there are certain students who get thrilled and excitement in doing such malpractices. They want to be popular by showing-off their ability. For some, it is an ego issue and for some, it is a dare for a bet or otherwise.
Availability of Sources: Technology and money facilitated cheating tools in the form of elements such as ex-students, co-students, parents, teachers, examiners, invigilators, examination staff and outside elements. They are readily available either due to money or otherwise.
Easy Approach: Using unfair means in the form of chits, guides, paid candidate, question paper leak, bribed teachers or examiners etc. appears to be a shortcut to hard work. When there are shortcuts who wants to make efforts to study.
Habitual Use: For successful cheaters, it becomes a bad habit which gives them the confidence to do it again. Such students just can’t do without cheating in spite of the fear of getting caught as the fear is overshadowed by tasted success.
Poverty: Some students come from poor families and they are working too many hours in paid employment to cope with schoolwork. They can either study or work so an easy way out is using unfair means.
Substance Addiction: Some have developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Such students have only one thing in mind and that one thing sways them away from studies.
Anti-social Elements: Students from families having a history of violence and psychiatric problems tend to be influenced by their environment. They indulge in crime and other anti-social activities which alienates them from studies
Good Grades: Some students are ambitious and want good grades at all cost to get admissions in reputed college or university. Though many of them are bright students, they want to leave no chance to top and the temptation to cheat to get the coveted admission or scholarships becomes very powerful.
By Hook or by Crook: The prevalent attitude of getting things done either By Hook or By Crook in present times is becoming acceptable and sort of norm. Corrupt officials and governments are leading examples. In such an environment cheating is no big deal.
How to deal with the Problem of Use of Unfair Means in Exam?
Purpose of Examinations: When the purpose of examinations becomes a method to gain grades rather than for it’s learning value, there is degradation in the value of examinations in the eyes of the students. It becomes a formality then.
Legal Consequences: Strict laws regarding cheating should be implemented to prevent cheating.
Incentives to Informers:  Students who are aware of cheaters should be given incentives in secret to prevent this malpractice.
Video Surveillance:  Using cameras even if they are dummies instils a fear of being taped and 100 % chance of getting caught which itself will prevent cheating.
Tracking School Staff: School staff can be tracked bu hired detectives for the possible perpetrator.
Extra Stress on Policies and Guidelines Regarding Cheating: These need to be fully communicated to students in various ways like the bulletin board, verbal announcement before the exams, warning on the exam sheet etc. This induces a fear and rejection of cheating.
Fair Exams: There is a need to create a test that is fair to the students. Some students use an instructor’s reputation for giving “unfair” tests as an excuse to cheat. “Fair” means that the exam tests the material that you said it would cover, that students have enough time to complete the exam and that there is a reasonable grade distribution. 
Pre-coded Sheets:  Use of Pre-code answer sheets and test booklets that use a numbering system so that the number on each test booklet matches the one on each student’s answer sheet is also an effective way to prevent cheating.
Clever Marking: To eliminate cheating after the exam has been returned to students, mark the answer sheets in such a way that answers cannot be altered (such as using a permanent felt-tip pen). 
Seating Arrangements: Number seats and tests and then assign students to sit in the seat with the same number as the number on their test.

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