By Meher Inayat:
”When students cheat in exams it’s because our school system values grades more than students value learning”
– Neil Degrasse Tyson
The prospect of getting good grades motivates a student to cheat in exams and it is only because grades are given more importance than learning. Today, competition on the basis of good grades is rising and only the top scorers are considered to be the intelligent ones. Consequently, getting good grades demonstrates the potential a student has to move forward. On the other hand, the ones who get poor marks are considered ineligible for any kind of job, even though the person is fit for that certain position. For example, in my university we are offered exchange programs, international conferences to attend and other opportunities. The first thing we are asked is whether we have a GPA above 3.5 and the students who have a GPA less than that are always deprived of those opportunities. Do GPAs really prove the ability of a person? There are students who do not participate in any kind of co-curricular activities and do not take part in any social or community work for the sake of gaining good grades. On the other hand, there are students who are experienced in doing anything and everything under the sun because they take part in co-curricular activities due to which they are often unable to work hard in their studies. Therefore, their grades will obviously get affected somehow. Participating in different activities helps a person gain experience, makes them creative and critical towards things. However, in our education system, students remain in stress in order to get marks. So, there arises a situation when they have to cheat in exams in order to pass with flying colours.
Sometimes, students don’t take interest in giving more time to their studies and they find alternative ways so that they can gain good grades. For example, there was an incident in a school where a group of male students from the 8th standard entered the staff room and stole question papers. The teachers were not aware of the incident and when they found that there was a shortage of one question paper from each subject, they thought that the board might have mistakenly sent a lesser number of papers. The students secretly distributed the questions among the others, especially the female students but they themselves didn’t bother to prepare those because they wanted to cheat from their class fellows on the exam day. This is the biggest example of laziness. When I asked one of the students as to why he did the same, he said, “I just wanted to pass this exam and get into a better college.”
If learning was considered more valuable than grades, it might have created an open environment for students to learn more. However, students remain in stress for the sake of gaining good marks, sometimes it leads to serious psychological issues and incidents. In 2010, a girl committed suicide in Gilgit, Pakistan because she couldn’t pass her matriculation. When she found that she has failed two subjects she decided to not go back home, instead she contemplated upon finishing her life. Therefore, she jumped into a river along with her another friend. The other friend was saved but was in a terrible condition, and has psychological problems till now. This is the consequence of giving more importance to grades.
In reality, grades are used to measure the talent of a person and students choose certain ways to boost their grades, so cheating is the only way for those students to prove their potential. Otherwise, one won’t get admission in a good college or in any professional institution which you have dreamt of attending. It is the school system that has made exams more like a battle as one even does not even care about his life when it comes to obtaining good grades.