Midterm exams are coming soon. A student at a university in China attached a placard which helped to cheat on his midterm examination last March. Cheating is not a new problem. Korean students were reported to have cheated on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), a test taken in order to apply to universities in U.S, by taking advantage of the time difference between test centers in Asia and the U.S last Jan. 18, 2010.
Why does cheating occur frequently and why do students cheat?
Reality of Cheating
In a survey by the Hanyang Journal, 50 percent of Hanyangians have cheated. 60 percent of Hanyangians have experienced plagiarism. It is not a problem only for Hanyang University (HYU). According to a survey held by the Korean University Students Cheating Elimination Committee, which was founded by 54 Universities without help of the government, to find out experiences towards the experiences of cheating, 73 percent of the survey’s respondents have experienced cheating by seeing or behaving by themselves or overhearing someone’s cheating. Over 70 percent of respondents said that the reason for cheating was grade-related.
Plagiarism is also a big problem. Plagiarizing is still widespread in Korea. Since 2000, report plagiarism is prevalent online. Kim, a student on a leave of absence who worked by writing reports for other people said, “When I write a report for someone, it is helpful for me to study about the report and at the same time earn money. It is like killing two birds with one stone.”
Why Cheat and Plagiarize?
Causes of constant cheating and plagiarism are due to not only a lack of personal ethics but also to social circumstances. In terms of personal ethics, students lack ethical sense. Andrew Rogers, a foreign professor at HYU said that these days, young men in Korea do not feel guilty. “I think cheating is not right behavior. But most students in HYU are exposed to cheating. It is surprising for me.”
Choi, a student majoring in Mass Communication and Journalism explained the situation regarding cheating. “Because most students cheat on exams, I felt like my grade was being damaged. As cheating and plagiarism are occurring generally, we felt guiltier than ever,” said Choi.
In view of social circumstance, modern competitive society asks people only good outcome. Company, university and even students want to get good grades needless to efforts. So, according to the data by the Korean University Students Cheating Elimination Committee, professors overlooked student’s actions and gave good grades.
Urgent Need to Solve Problems
Since the 1970s, universities in the U.S prepared a solution to cheating and plagiarism. In the U.S, the Center for Academic Integrity was found in 1992. The center worked to prevent cheating and plagiarism such as education program or campaign to remind the ethics and honesty.
At Duke University, an Honor Council was set up to prevent cheating and plagiarism. The Honor Council operates orientation, presentation and meetings about honesty on exams and prevention of plagiarism.
“It is necessary for the government to operate organizations and enforce laws regarding cheating and plagiarism. Especially, government has to prohibit website that help report plagiarism. But the Canadian government does not have any organization or solutions. In Canada, they have already enforced plagiarism preventive education. Not only efforts of government, but also students are needed,” said Jung Soo-ho, a professor in Department of Sociology of Information Society. Students should change their thought about cheating and plagiarism.
According to the research conducted by professor Oh Young-hee at DukSung Women's University, 82 percent of the respondents answered that cheaters are not present. Also, however, 61 percent of respondents replied that cheating or plagiarism is not a wrong behavior.
Improvement of a Sense of Ethics
Cheating and plagiarism have existed before the Chosun Dynasty. But these problems were not as widespread as they are frequent like today. The biggest problem is that most cheaters do not acknowledge their guilty actions. But there has not been any governmental organization to control cheating and plagiarism.
Therefore, the government should try to enhance the students’ ethics, first. Also, students should improve their senses of ethics. Students ought to study and take on exams, which is not for only grade but for themselves.