Cheating has never ceased to exist- it is by no measure a new phenomenon. What’s new, however, is large scale cheating that’s facilitated by the availability of mass communication channels and social media- the likes of Facebook and Whatsapp.
What happened in the Arabic Thanaweya 3amma exam, last Sunday, is a definite disgrace. “The exam questions along with the answers were leaked online 45 minutes into the three-hour exam, which started at 9am,” reported Ahram Online. The Arabic Thanaweya 3amma exam is a nationwide test; students used their mobile phones to spread around the questions and answers creating a cheating web of sorts. In order to spread the exam nationwide, the students went the whole nine yards, creating a hashtag to make accessing the leaked exams easier.
Cue the Sherlock Holmes investigation style, whereby the ministry of education managed to look into the matter, identify who the exam papers photographed belonged to and arrest three students thought to be responsible for the mass cheating incident.
Does this solve the problem, though? Is the arrest enough to put an end to this catastrophe? I honestly don’t think so. We have a serious problem when it comes to our collective, societal mind-set; we value grades more than we value authentic learning and knowledge. Our youth are raised to be high achievers, no matter what. Thus, they resort to the way easier route of cheating their way through to dazzlingly high grades.
We need to change our whole view of education. We need to raise youth who believe in the actual value of knowledge. We need to work on making sure students understand the material, rather than memorize it and dump it on the exam paper, only to have it forgotten the minute they leave the examination room. Our education system is flawed, for it is a reflection of our society’s flawed values. Education is about more than just achieving a certain grade, and it is high time we all realized that and started raising our children accordingly.