Over the past decade, cheating—an act of academic dishonesty—has become more and more common.
The latest statistics are alarming; more than two thirds of high school students admitted cheating on an exam last year, and—even more appalling—often the best student cheat to get to the top of their class—and they don’t think it is wrong. It’s not a big deal. Everybody is doing it.
It IS a big deal! Cheating is basically wrong and must be punished.
If students easily get away with it, they might be encouraged to do it again. They won’t realize that this—in the broadest sense—is an attack on our society, which is based on values like honesty and fairness. The present epidemic of cheating indicates a loss of those values and cannot be tolerated. An appropriate punishment for cheating incidents would be to make students aware of their misbehavior.
If no one were punished for cheating, who would ever study for an exam? Tons of papers would be lifted from websites, writing crib sheets would be more important than reviewing the subjects, and highly sophisticated cheating arts would be invented. Knowledge would only exist on the Internet and on cleverly created cheat sheets, but not in the minds of the students—a rather bad precondition to enrich our society wisely and intelligently.
Students have to learn that they have to learn. Only doing what’s right will bring them a feeling of pride and accomplishment and create self-confidence—the building blocks for a successful and satisfying life and a society that keeps its values.