Death of hon­our

> When even aca­demics stoop to thiev­ery, re­spect is lost

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FEATURE -

God for­bid if those grad­u­ates end up in crit­i­cal ar­eas like medicine or en­gi­neer­ing!

An exam or test is given to eval­u­ate a can­di­date and gauge the level of his or her knowl­edge and skills. How­ever, if cheat­ing is in­volved, the re­sults of the as­sess­ment will not be re­flec­tive of the per­son’s true skills and knowl­edge.

I would also like to take the lib­erty to high­light the find­ings of Latisha As­maak Shafie and Su­rina Nayan of the Academy of Lan­guage Stud­ies at Univer­siti Te­knologi Mara (Perlis), who con­ducted ex­ten­sive re­search into this se­ri­ous sub­ject.

In their pa­per, The Net Gen­er­a­tion and Aca­demic Dis­hon­esty in Malaysia, they de­fined such cheat­ing as “prac­tices in buy­ing as­sign­ments, pla­gia­ris­ing other peo­ple’s work, ask­ing friends to take the test on their be­half, pay­ing some­one else to take the test on their be­half, col­lab­o­rat­ing with other friends to dis­cuss the tests, and other ac­tions which chal­lenge aca­demic in­tegrity”.

They found that it was com­mon to find in­stances of cheat­ing among stu­dents in higher ed­u­ca­tion, such as stu­dents il­le­gally bring­ing in notes in their jack­ets while tak­ing their ex­ams.

Some in­sti­tu­tions don’t al­low stu­dents to bring their mo­bile phones into the exam hall, to dis­cour­age cheat­ing.

Latisha and Su­rina sug­gest that uni­ver­si­ties should hold cour­ses to pro­mote aca­demic in­tegrity among stu­dents, and to teach them to do proper ci­ta­tions to give credit where credit is due, and to pre­vent aca­demic cheat­ing and dis­hon­esty.

As I read this, I am shak­ing my head. Has some­thing gone wrong with our so­ci­ety? Where is that pre­cious thing called hon­our?

Ac­cord­ing to the revered Ox­ford English Dic­tio­nary, ‘hon­our’ means high re­spect or great es­teem.

But if peo­ple in ex­alted po­si­tions are al­leged to be in­volved in thiev­ery, then such re­spect evap­o­rates.

This brings to mind a few bril­liant quotes by Sopho­cles, a Greek philoso­pher and play­wright in 497BC.

An ad­vo­cate of suc­cess which is de­pen­dent on ef­fort, he is per­haps best known for this quote: “I would pre­fer even to fail with hon­our, than win by cheat­ing.”

I’m also re­minded of an­other quote by him, which states: “All a man’s af­fairs be­come dis­eased, when he wishes to cure evils by evils.” And: “It’s a ter­ri­ble thing to speak well and be wrong.”

Jeff Yong, af­ter mak­ing his mark in the twisty maze of main­stream jour­nal­ism, has fi­nally de­cided to en­joy what he does best – ob­serv­ing the un­usual and re­count­ing the glee­ful. He can be con­tacted at life­­rak@

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