[this is not very related to science but it is an issue I feel very strongly about. This was my essay for the Ethics and Corruption in the public sector course I took during my Masters in Public Policy.]
One of the behaviours that negatively affect an educational system is the very high levels of students’ academic dishonesty. This is especially the case for written examinations, the main assessment procedure in both high-school and university level education in Greece.
Academic dishonesty is a very dangerous type of corruption because it happens when people are at such a young age, at the stage when they learn how to think, try to find out what they believe in and develop into the people that they will eventually become. If a behaviour is perceived as correct or normal at this stage, it is more likely that it will be repeated for the rest of the life of the individual, or even be transferred in situations outside education. By adopting such a corrupt behaviour at such an early stage, young people are more likely to be corrupt as adults as well.
Academic dishonesty in the context of written examinations exists in many forms. Students can increase their chances of getting good grades by finding out the questions before the exam, copying from other students during the exam, copying from material brought into the exam room (notes in the bag, on the floor, in pencil cases, etc), from texts written on their hands, arms, thighs etc, and/or using technology (e.g. using mobile phones to obtain answers from the internet or from friends at home) or even by sending someone else to sit the exam for them. All these forms of cheating are used to great extents depending on the situation.
The focus of this essay will be university students who are performing any of the above behaviours during their higher education studies. They are the ones who initiate and benefit from the corrupted act of cheating in written examinations. The alarming trend that served as inspiration for this essay is the increasing number of university students that consider cheating as an integral and justified part of their studies, even a right. The majority of students nowadays consider it completely independent of corruption.