15th June 2015
An article in today’s Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/jun/15/cheating-rife-in-uk-education-system-dispatches-investigation-shows indicates the extent of cheating in schools and universities. This is not a new phenomenon. As I wrote in my book (Reason 33. Schools promote dishonesty), dishonesty and cheating occur at all levels and are part of the culture. Schools and teachers cheat and collude with students to cheat as the stakes for all are set so high and are dependent on a young person ticking enough boxes. League tables. performance-related pay and achievement awards for schools all put pressure on to get the grades. Ofsted reports are also often a fictional representation of what actually happens. At a nearby college Ofsted visited during A level mock week when no lessons were taught and all students were off site. Specially selected students were bused to speak to inspectors. In one adult class, where only 5 out of 13 had passed the first assessment, 4 of the “successes” were told to talk to the inspectors about their experience.
In a culture of dishonesty. lying and cheating to survive or gain advantage becomes acceptable. In a punishment based system (with reward as a shade of punishment) young people learn to do whatever they can get a way with.
The problem is not that students cheat, but that the pieces of paper are seen to count for more than any other criteria in the job market and in deciding whether someone is a success or a failure in life. The pursuit of qualifications, regardless of their intrinsic worth or the knowledge they may represent, contaminates education systems world wide. The incentive and rewards of cheating outweigh the risks of getting caught.
Schools exist to create winners and losers, successes and failures to feed into the machine. Dishonesty is not a problem in this scenario. We need human beings, honest,insightful humans, to navigate our way out of the mess that has been created by this way of being.
See Book Extract 33. Schools promote dishonesty
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