Nov 4, 2014 – Muscat, Cheating in college exams is rampant in Oman, gender of the candidates notwithstanding, say teachers and student counsellors, and …
MUSCAT: “Cheaters will be caught” was the stark warning from Sheikh Saud Salem Al Azri, Advisor to the Minister of Education, after it emerged that 200 students failed mid-term exams in Oman after they were caught cheating.
While mid-term exam results for both public and private schools were excellent, 200 students were automatically marked as ‘failed’ for cheating, attempting to cheat and violating the General Education Diploma (GED) Exam Management Law.
Some even threatened to assault teachers who caught them in the act.
Students will sit their final exams for the academic year 2016/17 in four months and Al Azri advised against cheating. Indian schools pupils will also be buckling down to exams in the coming weeks.
“I advise students not to depend on cheating as cheating in exams will cause you to cheat in other things as well. The religion and law forbids cheating so you have to remember your values,” said Al Azri.
“Some resort to cheating because they don’t have an educative mind,” he added, explaining that some students are not interested in education so they resort to cheating just to get through the exams.
Various methods are used to cheat from simple notes on paper and mobile phones to having someone sit the exam on behalf of the actual student.
“As you know, there are different ways of cheating. The students are searched by the supervisors before entering the exam room for any tools they could use to cheat. Sometimes they don’t find anything, but they eventually find out someone is cheating during the exam,” said Al Azri.
Cheating is more time consuming than actual study, a senior principal of Indian School warned, adding that copying in exams doesn’t help students. “Students will never able to finish their exams if they resort to cheating as it is very time consuming,” the principal said.
Describing the students, a senior teacher in Indian School said some students have a laid-back attitude where they wait for the last minute to study before any examinations. “And when they can’t finish their studies, they resort to cheating.
“Then there are some students who are under too much pressure to excel no matter what. When these students feel they are falling behind, they cheat,” a teacher of Indian School said.
The teacher added: “Replacing written exams or course work with oral assessment may help to stop potentially high levels of cheating by students.”
Supervisors are tasked with collecting mobile phones and any possible “tools” used for cheating before, during and after the exam. If a student is caught, they will be referred to a committee at the Ministry of Education formed to collect and study evidence of cheating to determine the
Also according to the ministry, some students verbally and physically abuse exam supervisors which results in the complete failure of the exam.
According to the GED Management Law, students who are caught cheating will not be able to view their exam results.
Those who abuse teachers and supervisors will have their grades for the current year erased and referred to the public prosecution for legal procedures according to the Oman Penal Code.
Al Azri advised that cheating is considered a crime according to the religion and by law.
According to the latest data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information, 540,068 students were registered in government schools while 101,860 students were in private schools, not including international schools, for the 2015/16 academic year.
“Among the violations were possession of mobile phones and exam notes which were confiscated, verbal and physical abuse, negligence of exam rules, failure to present identification and refusal of being searched”
“Other violations include ripping off exam papers, failure to adhere to the dress code and impersonating students.”
Mid-terms results, announced last week, stated that 82.37 per cent of public schoolchildren and 91.22 percent of private school pupils passed.