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Wednesday,October 21,2020
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When Will Cheating End?
A dispute over university students' academic dishonesty is stirring up debate both on and off campus. One daily newspaper reported that prosecutors indicted seven students at a cyber college on charges of cheating on an online examination. Even though university authorities said the prosecutors were unfair because the students were allowed to refer to books while taking exams, the prosecution maintained its hard stance. Whether the prosecution's action is fair or not, cheating, or so-called "cunning" in Korean, is no longer considered just part of university life but a crime.
This problem is also causing great distress at other universities. Ajou University has developed a code of student ethics to root out this evil practice of cheating.
Dongguk University (DU) is no exception. After last October's mid-term exams lots of students raised the cheating problem on the online community. "Many students are cheating on their exams instead of doing hard study. There is no sense of guilt or remorse whatsoever. I can't understand why professors do not punishment them after being caught cheating. It's so rampant and is simply not fair," one freshmen wrote this letter on the board under the name of "I hate professors."
Cheating is caused by a number of reasons including scholarly atmosphere which emphasizes competition and grades, the need to get good grades for the job market and a low level of students' moral value.
Several colleges now let the students choose their majors after attending school for one year rather than upon entry. And their Grade Point Average (GPA) Is the main criterion for selection of majors. Since there are always too many applicants for popular majors such as Business Administration and English Literature, there is cutthroat competition among freshmen. It means that applicants for popular majors must get a good GPA.
This year students at DU had to get a GPA of 3.8 out of a 4.5 to become a public administration student. To survive this fierce competition, students wishing to be public administration majors have to study harder than others.
However, the students, for their part, have some genuine complaints about their tests. That is because many professors give unsophisticated true/false or multiple-choice exams that require more memory work than creative thinking or deep understanding of the subject. "I was very disappointed. I expected some high-level evaluations, but in fact it's little different from the high school exams," recalls Kim Hye-jeong in disgust.
A most important factor is the Ssize of many of the classes in Korean colleges. An instructor points out that with more than two hundred students in his class, it is simply impossible to throughly grade all the essay questions. The solution then would be to beef up the faculty or reduce enrollment, but neither option is practical for Korea's cash-strapped colleges.
It is again final-term season at Korean colleges. And there is still no solution on how to end cheating. We can not, of course, depend on students' moral values. The School Authorities should be keen to solve this cheating issue at our University. Or, DU will fall into "dire straits" due to fierce.

Kim Jung-yoon  sasports@dongguk.edu

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