A student has moved from England. He wants to study at a Canadian university. He dedicates 8 years to his education, without a semester off. He is assigned a paper that he does not have the time to write completely. This student decides to plagiarize.
A situation like this recently happened in Canada. There was a case where four students had taken a paper off the internet and substituted words to make it seem more credibly authentic. When caught, these students got an automatic fail and were expelled from the university; however, for two of the students, being expelled was the least of their problems. Two of these students were from another country. After being convicted for cheating, their student visas got revoked and they were deported within a day. Imagine, dedicating a number of years of your life to an education, and for it to come to a halt because you decided not to write your own paper.
The consequences of cheating at a post-secondary school are substantial. Depending on the severity of a student’s offense, punishments for cheating may include a fail (and may be forced to repeat the course), a fine, disciplinary probation, creation of a disciplinary record (other schools can see that you have a history of cheating), suspension for one or more semesters, expulsion from the school and even deportation (if you are from another country).
Universities and colleges extensively punish cheaters so they don’t end up becoming our doctors, engineers and scientists. If post-secondary schools are taking cheating so seriously, students need to fully understand the consequences and be made aware of them at an earlier age. Cheating in high school is often brushed away after a failing grade on an assignment or the traditional “0” and phone call home.
The habit of cheating is a hard one to break, and if students have the impression that the severity of the punishments are worth the risk than the number of cheating cases in post-secondary education may rise.
To better prepare students for post-secondary education, should the punishments for cheating in high school be modified?