australian culture and customs

find out how australians do things, how we see the world and the world sees us

What, no cheating?!

Australians were astonished and surprised last week to hear that some Chinese families had actually locked in and threatened teachers for not allowing their children to cheat in exams. What? Of course you can’t cheat!  That’s totally against the rules, isn’t  it?!  Well it is in Australia and no parent would ever imagine, let alone dare, to question a child’s ‘right’ to cheat.  The quote that got the most attention here was, “We want fairness. There is no fairness if you do not let us cheat.” What do you mean? Cheating is not fair! This does not compute.

Cheating in Australia is seen as a serious misdemeanour in school or university from any age. Plagiarism, that is not giving credit to someone for their work when we use it (passing it off as your own) can get you expelled from university. Every time we mark work at the university bridging course I work at we penalise for plagiarism, 50% is taken off for a first offence and 100% after that. We also check for plagiarism through specialised programs where we enter text and see if has previously been published. Many students say to us that they just wanted to submit the best work so they copied someone else’s online. No, you can’t do that. Some pay others to write their assignments. No, unacceptable.  Others think if you take a bit from here, here, here and there and patch it all together that is ok because they had to do a lot of research to find the material.  Stop kidding yourself! It is plagiarism and you will be severely penalised for doing it. And for any other form of cheating.

Original, critical thought and intellectual creativity are highly valued in Australian academic culture and plagiarism does not allow the learner to develop these.  Studying is for learning, not passing the course. Cheating (including plagiarism) to us demonstrates laziness, dishonesty, arrogance, weakness of character and an attitude that the efforts of your fellow students don’t matter, which we find a most obnoxious attitude.  Your fellow students are not your enemy in Australia and, if you put in the effort, you deserve the reward, but not if you cheat.

One more thing.  If you haven’t learnt the course content, how are you going to carry out your professional duties when you graduate?  As someone on a blog I subscribe to asked, what if you qualify as a flight controller and you don’t know what you’re doing?

See the links below to see what some Australian media outlets had to say about the Chinese parents’ response to not being allowed to cheat

Chinese students and families fight for the right to cheat their exams

Three billion reasons why cheating is rife  Read the comments too for further understanding of Australians’ views.

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This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.

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