There has been a lot of talk lately on the internet, in our living rooms and on our dining tables, about the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) examination results being cancelled.
The conversations about it only became intense after the Supreme Court on Monday scrapped the test following a month-long investigation into allegations of large-scale irregularities, including leakage of answer keys, by Haryana police.
And there is also a lot of talk about cheating. In the past couple of days, you would agree, there is nothing students, mothers, fathers and thinking adults, alike, are thinking, talking and writing about more.
In the past one year, about a dozen major question paper leaks have been reported affecting lakhs of students across India: From the latest AIPMT to the Uttar Pradesh Combined Premedical Test in 2014 and Jamia Millia's BTech and BDS courses entrance exams.
So, to understand why such scandals are so rampant in India, we asked experts if cheating in examinations was acceptable in the country and also why students engaged in it. And some of what they had to say -- about cheating and Indians -- left us a little embarrassed.
"Students are used to seeing cheating in every part of their life. Given today's society and family structure, students are more likely to cheat, as self-interest has taken precedence over morality for most people," she added.
The counselor stressed that understanding the mechanisms behind cheating could help us construct effective anti-cheating technologies to minimize cheating.
If they can, we can
According to Kolkata-based psychologist Polly Sengupta, if students believe others have engaged in illegitimate behavior and gotten away with it, they are more likely to engage in the same behaviour themselves.
"Students, like the rest of us, have the tendency to rationalise cheating, in their effort to shake off the guilt," said Sengupta.
She stressed that students (and sometimes parents) tend to rationalise cheating behaviour, because deep down they believe in the immorality of it and feel guilty about it. The act of justifying the act allows them to accept their behaviour, further encouraging them to engage in a similar actions in the future.
She made a larger point when she said that, "Taking the guilt or shame factor out we allow ourselves to delve into more unethical behaviours."
(The author tweets as SanyaHoon on Twitter)