Cheating Prevention: Indian Students Asked to Wear Boxes on Their Heads

By: Jessica Sivillo, Nicole Estell, and Darienne Bartsh

Have you ever witnessed someone cheat? Do you think students get away with cheating easily in the United States? Many teachers brainstorm how they can stop cheating in the classroom.

While cheating in the United States is a common occurrence, the problem is more severe in other countries like India. CNN reporter Jesse Yeung explained that a school in India, The Bhagat Pre-University College, encouraged students to wear cardboard boxes on their heads during an exam. After the school received backlash, administrators apologized for their actions. How would you feel if you were asked to wear a cardboard box during an exam? We believe that students should not be subjected to this kind of behavior.

According to Yeung, the school’s request was part of an optional experiment to reduce cheating in the classroom. The experiment was the school’s response to consistent cheating problems over the past few years. In fact, in 2015, parents climbed school buildings to hand their children cheat sheets for their exams.

As you can imagine, cheating in India stems from a much greater issue. Many Indian students endure pressure from their family to be successful and to get out of the poverty cycle. Many high school and college students understand this pressure, but it seems as though the culture in India takes it one step further. Unfortunately, this pressure has negatively impacted Indian student’s mental health and in some situations, students have turned to suicide.

While the cheating persists in the school system, what can educators do to help? Would the outside pressure for students continue if educators had conversations about cheating and the desire to be successful? While we personally do not have definite answers to these questions, we think a conversation must occur with educators, students, and parents.

Ethically, we recognize that there is a problem with asking students to wear cardboard boxes on their heads. However, it seems that the ethical dilemma in Indian school systems is much greater than this issue at hand. What can school systems do to enforce better ethical practices amongst teachers and students?

In our opinion, we feel that educators should talk to their students about cheating in the classroom and how this can impact their future. Teachers should also take the time to address the pressure students face and to show them how to manage the stress. The school system should facilitate a conversation with parents about how their actions can affect their children both positively and negatively.

What do you think school systems and educators can do inside and outside of the classroom to prevent cheating and to help students both academically and personally? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the issue.

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2 Responses to Cheating Prevention: Indian Students Asked to Wear Boxes on Their Heads

  1. erika peitersen says:

    I think that this issue was incredibly ridiculous. I don’t think wearing boxes on their heads was helpful at all as it is distracting and even a form of mockery. Many other tactics to reduce cheating could’ve been implemented and tried before making students put boxes on their heads. Some of these other measures could be substantial separation between students during an exam or even setting up separators between each student, which is what my high school used to do in some cases.

    In regard to the pressure Indian students feel to succeed, I believe this is a common theme in not only India but also in the U.S. There is a form of thinking in many students that grades are more important than actually learning the material. This type of perception leads to cheating and finding ways to get by rather than take in the knowledge. I agree that this is the bigger underlying issue at hand. To change this perception will take a big transformation in school systems on how grading is weighed and how students are evaluated.

  2. mia evans says:

    This case comes a s surprise, since, as a student, I could never imagine being asked to do such a ridiculous thing during an exam. While the school is in the wrong, the fact that the cheating problem is so severe that this is the idea to solve it speaks louder. Parents need to take a look at the pressures they put on their children to succeed and realize that this can do more harm than good. If a student cheats their way through school, how will they ever be successful in the real world, without the option to cheat? Learning for yourself and growing as a person is one of the most important parts about higher education. In my opinion, if the school does want to prevent cheating, they can use their resources to but different types of desks, blinders or even cover pages to protect a student’s answers and deter cheating. They should have never subjected their students to such a strange request that only makes the rest of the world question the integrity and morals of the school itself.

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