What is Cheating

Educators are not only concerned about the frequency and sophistication of cheating by our high school and university students, but also about the fact that many of these students do not seem to have any guilt about being involved.

Two questions present themselves:
– one is: Should the students feel guilty?
– the other: Should the educators, or indeed the public, be surprised about this behaviour?

Let us first look closely at the higher institutions of learning namely our universities. When we analyze the faculty’s tactics for obtaining grants for research, we find that some of them may be involved in plagiarism, besides other activities which may be considered a form of cheating. Let me explain: Novice researchers who apply for research grants often get assistance from their supervisors, i.e. the faculty, especially on how to formulate their grant applications so they are successful in receiving funds.

Because they received professional help some might view this support as a form of cheating. If such applicants for research grants use a senior scientist to help them prepare their grant proposal, could the research team submitting such a grant proposal be construed as cheating? Are they in the same category as those high school and/or university students who get professional help for their essays and/ or other school projects? Are their tactics any different from the handouts received by the beggars on our streets?

It seems logical to extend this line of reasoning to the mechanisms used by some of our charitable organizations. It is my understanding that for some charitable organizations the budget for their fundraising campaigns may exceed a third or even half of the total monies they collect! If such organizations were to make more transparent or even more public the fraction of the monies that they collect that actually go towards research and/or the aims of their charity, this might exclude them from the cheating category.