Gender Gender

Exam leakages compromising education

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Children’s Corner with PANIC CHILUFYA
THE desire to succeed has been taken to another level by some people who do not think twice about cheating or using what is locally referred to as Mwembeshi (leakage) to achieve those coveted good grades in an exam.
The practice has almost become the norm the world over with students always devising new ways of cheating without being exposed.
The latest case is of three teachers and an outsider who were nabbed last week, in an attempt to answer General Certificate of Education (GCE) exam questions on behalf of candidates.
From experience, to curb cheating before and during exams, there are a number of measures that have been put in place, for example, the physical identification of learners writing exams.
However, in this particular case, the four ‘culprits’ were still prepared to take a chance with the hope of beating the system. It takes a lot of gut and there is certainly need for relevant authorities to investigate the incident further; this could just be the proverbial tip of the iceberg, and maybe this practice has been going on for some time.
What is more disappointing is that the people who were involved are teachers. By virtue of their position, their behaviour should be exemplary and above board, especially for the sake of learners who look up to them as role models.
If some unprincipled teachers are the ones perpetrating this scourge, obviously at a fee, how will they instil the notion in their young learners that cheating is unacceptable in the academic world and in societies where values and ethics are crucial in the construction of positive morals?
Although the family has the primary responsibility to ensure that children uphold the values of honesty and hard work, the education environment, especially teachers, has an equally vital role of mentoring and sensitising learners about the negative consequences of cheating at individual, societal and national levels.
Cheating at whatever level is risky because it is a bad habit that can develop into deceitful behaviour, lies, resulting in ethical issues. Teachers have an important task of encouraging their learners to work hard if they are to succeed instead of using under-hand methods such as cheating during exams which can be an embarrassing act if caught.
Cheating, if not curbed, regardless of who practises it, tends to diminish the value of the quality of education because when ‘cheaters’ enter the job market, they are unlikely to perform to expectation as they will not possess the requisite academic qualifications. It is the same habits and work ethics of cheating that such children will exhibit in adulthood.
With the pressure to succeed at its peak in today’s world, it is imperative to instil positive values in children that cheating is unacceptable in whatever form and must never be tolerated. Children should be made to understand that when they cheat, they are basically exhibiting tendencies of being dishonest. As the saying goes, there is no sweet without sweat.
As for the teachers and candidates, it is hoped that appropriate action will be taken against them as a deterrent to would-be offenders and those who are in the habit of compromising the quality of education for a few pieces of silver, instead of protecting the integrity of the profession and their learners.
Remember, children are our future. Until next week, take care.
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