Cultural Differences of Cheating in Western and Eastern Countries

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Nowadays, the problem of cheating has become a common problem in academic world of western countries like America, Canada and Britain. The cases of students being accused of plagiarism are increasing day by day. There can be many reasons which compel the students to cheat. Cultural background is considered as one of the prominent factors responsible for cheating, as we know students from various cultures study in the educational institutes of these countries.

With the increase in number of international students in universities and colleges, it has been observed that plagiarism among students is also rising at an alarming rate. Karen Bellinger, lawyer at Downtown Legal Services, the University of Toronto legal aid clinic that assists students charged with academic offences, says, “I would say, anecdotally, that the 50% of [clients] are international students (Tamara Baluja, 2011). In eastern countries like India, grades are preferred more as compared to intellectual abilities. Therefore, in order to achieve higher grades some children don’t hesitate to use even illicit means. Cramming is a part of learning practice among students so they believe that if they would copy the words of their teacher or book, it would help them to score well in academics. “Students from eastern cultures are generally used to working in groups toward a common goal in ways that can run counter to the American tradition of independent scholarship”, Lori Friedman said (Kia Farhang, 2014). In some overpopulated countries like China, Japan, India people are habitual of working together and sharing their ideas in the name of helping each other. They believe that it creates a win –win situation for more than one person. In this way, some students become reliant on others for their academic work. They fail to develop the intellectual ability to create their own ideas and carry this habit along with them, to western countries while going for higher studies.

In some developing countries educational systems lack proper technology as well as measures to control plagiarism. As these countries are overpopulated so the management of educational institutes fails to carefully examine the work of all students, so some of them manage to cheat. Also, students are burdened with the responsibilities of their family as they have to become the earning hands of the family in future in order to fulfill their needs. So they are pressurized to perform well. It leads them towards the path of cheating. Therefore, cheating has become a part of culture in such countries. “International students facing discipline most commonly say that they were reared in drastically different learning styles, burdened with expectations from their families that have invested heavily in them, or lacked the confidence to shape and convey ideas in English” (Tamara Baluja, 2011).

Plagiarism can be controlled by following multiple steps. It has been observed that some international students cheat unintentionally. Sometimes they are oblivious about their act of cheating. Lori Friedman says, “Plagiarism is a new word, intellectual property is a new word and idea. What we might call cheating, they might call it sharing” (Kia Farhang, 2014). The educational institutions should provide acknowledgement classes or sessions to introduce the concept of plagiarism.

Some international students don’t know how to express their views as they fear to be wrong. They should be taught to how to develop and support their own ideas (Carrie Hou, 2018). In some cultures, parents pamper their children so much that they don’t bother about ethical values. They encourage their children to cheat in order to get academic excellence. Experts say that along with students, teachers and technology, parents are also to blame for plagiarism (Richard Perez –Pena, 2012). Parents should teach their children the ethical values of honesty. They should be taught regarding the importance of developing own ideas. Strict penalty for being accused of plagiarism can help to reduce cheating. “Punishment for cheating can be severe. Most colleges give students a failing grade on any assignment they are caught cheating on” (Kia Farhang, 2014).

To wind up, it can be said that different cultures have different aspects regarding education system. There are distinctive academic approaches in various cultures which are not acceptable in other cultures. There is no universal policy for academic integrity (Audrey Campbell, 2017).

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