It’s certainly a mystery egg for the majority of the paper markers at Sri Lankan Examinations. Simply because, while marking they have to witness contradictory performances of students in the local education system, in the MCQ Paper and Paper II. After years of comprehensive surveillance, the Examination department recently decided to mix the sequence of the questions in the Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ’s) of Paper I. Both A/Ls and O/Ls Examinations will undergo this fresh change. According to a statement made by the Commissioner General of Examinations Sanath Pujitha, a clear-cut difference is observed in some of the answer scripts of Papers I and II, belonging to the same candidate. “In some cases, candidates have got all 40 answers correct in Paper I (MCQ) and just 10 to 15 marks in Paper II, where the student has to write. This indicates the related student may have copied,” he said.
To what extent this step be successful in combating cheating is still at an experimental level. Also, Sri Lanka’s known to devise some of the smartest brains out there. Who knows, these mischievous students could easily come up with a sign language unique and understandable only to their young minds. Thereby the success of introducing this barrier is still at an experimental level.
Has competitiveness gone too far?
The cheating saga begins from Grade five scholarship examination. The requirement of being a top scorer to be eligible for receiving a bursary from a popular school is what the life of average 10 years old is fixated on. Then there is a requisite need to succeed at G.C.E A/L s to be eligible to follow a degree under a recognized state university. Competitive mindset makes the child in wanting to score more and more, they will do whatever it takes to get there, even if it’s cheating.
How is cheating brought to life by students?
Examinations department identifies the below mentioned as some of the most commonly known ways of cheating at exams.
- Passing of chits (Although Passing of paper chits is an outdated method, it is still popular among the candidates)
- Discussing answers while invigilator is away or distracted
- Other ways such as clearing of the throat or coughing to signal answers
- Use of electronic devices
- Altering index numbers
- Using handkerchiefs and tissue papers to write answers on
- Wearing watches with calculators
However, some of the other methods, involving high technology are not disclosed to the public. The examinations department constantly directs the invigilators to be on high alert for the use of electronic devices coupled with high technology. Since recent times, the percentage of committing exam offenses is on a notable increase. The former Assistant Examinations Commissioner WASPK Dias reported on incidents where candidates used Bluetooth technology.
“The candidate used a handkerchief to cover the device, speaking into it while in the pretext of wiping his sweat. And in another incident, we detected a candidate using a mobile phone to cheat”. The sensational revelation of the ominous scheming of cheating at the last years G.C.E A/L examination, Chemistry Paper, too, opened the eyes of many proving that there is much more to than what meets the eye at the end of the day.
Education in general needs more investment
The government of Sri Lanka is currently on a mission to become a Competitive Upper Middle-Income county. As previously highlighted, the Government can only transform Sri Lanka into an Upper Middle Income Country by promoting human development and equitable growth in various fields of the country. Education is one of these fields. The expected global standard reserved for education is 6% of the GDP. Yet, Sri Lanka is very far from achieving this value.Despite the countless promises made at budget proposals by the successive governments in power, allocating a higher percentage for the education sector remains to be static on a value of 2% of the country’s GDP. Citizens witnessed a sudden reduction of the allocated budget for this vital sector, cut down from 185.97 billion in 2016 to 76.94 billion in 2017.
It is high time the authorities realize the gravity of making disdainful pronouncements for mere electoral gains. I can’t really say that this will put an end to cheating. But it will surely put a stop to the neck to neck competition existed for generations among our children. Also, students will not have to execute nifty plans to see that they succeed in entering higher education. We are always taught never to lie, cheat and steal. Why because these are the three major sins one can commit in their lifetime. A mistake is an accident. But remember the fact that cheating itself is not a mistake. So, therefore, stop hiding behind the word mistake when you cheat. Perform genuinely at your examinations.