It’s better to cheat than to repeat !

Believe it or not that is the spoken words at some of our institution of  higher learning in Jamaica today, where  our prospective managers are of  the belief that it’s better to cheat to pass an exam vs repeating a year, as the cost of doing so just does not make any other decision possible.

Now tell me, if this is the belief system of many at places of higher learning, what can we therefore expect, when they eventually graduated with a degree that they never earned ?

The sad reality of Jamaica today, is that people believe they must come out on top at all cost, principle, ethics are morality are cast aside as we strive to ensure we get what is it we want by ” any means necessary”.

We need not  spend time to understand the principles of the subject being taught, we need not understand how things are done a particular way and why, we have no time for that, we just need the results, we need that bit of paper, which says , we have arrived.

There is a premium now in Jamaican on Post Graduate degrees and many Jamaicans see having this as a sure way to significantly improve his or her earnings. In addition many company’s are aking for persons with post graduate degrees and are willing in many instances to accept those from overseas vs the locally produced ones, even when it clear the job does not require someone with post graduate qualification.

The end result is we find many persons applying for and getting jobs with bogus degrees. We have the ever increasing case of persons landing “big” jobs, with degree they purchased of the internet and were not even smart enough to try and earn a legitimate degree have landed the prized job.

Management must therefore shift the focus away from the degree to either of the following:

  1. Person with a track record of delivering results, while digging to find out, the methodology the individual used to attain these results.
  2. The mental capacity and the thought process of the candidate (Masters or otherwise without experience) to be able with mentoring and coaching to deliver the results.

Compensation should now be paid on the value the individual is expected to deliver to the organization and adjusted upwards based on the actual value they have managed to add to the organization .

When our focus is solely on the results, we end up with situation which is not only undesirable but we can also end up creating monsters in the process unwittingly so, let me give an example.

If the sole goal of a Snr Manager in an organization is to deliver financial results and that is the only thing he is being appraised against, their is a very good chance you will get the result you need. The general concept is , if you are achieving the expected results, then their must be a process in place that is delivering those particular results.

This Snr Manager thus gets a handsome reward for his stewardship and possibly promotional opportunities are created by virtue of his ability to deliver , sound good, right.

Invariably what happens in many organizations that operate like the one mentioned above, is the true operation of the firm comes to light if :

  1. That Snr Manager happens to out of office for an extended period of time ie sick or vacation and someone else sits in the job.
  2. He leaves that specific geographic location via promotion or a job change.
  3. A major loss occurs and people begin to actually look at the processes that exist ie the check and balances.

When you are delivering results very few people take notice of what you are doing and you virtually become a law unto yourself, no one bothers you, no one ask the tough questions, afterall you are a star who is delivering star performance.

In organization like the above,  the practises used to generate the results are often predatory, unethical , unprincipled and in many cases fraught with financial irregularities , which continue on for an extended period of time.  Those caught in this situation becomes so cocksure of themselves, they begin to take on “God-Like” stature, they are never wrong, their actions and decisions can never be questioned and they become a law unto themselves, after all their bosses are comfortable with their ability to deliver the results and could not care less about the method being used to deliver those results.

Where did all this come from, well it begins with ones socialization and value system and like those at institutions of higher learning today who believe ” It’s better to cheat than to repeat”, there are very little differences between the two.

If you develop a habit of “cheating”  to get the results you want and you appear to be rewarded in the process, you will continue to act in this manner, its a learned behaviour.

So back to where we started, if we have young graduates who believe it better to cheat than to repeat, then one can only therefore expect that attitude to extend into the work place.

So to partially answer the question I asked as to why ” higher education has not been translated to improved economic situation in Jamaica”, one need not go much further than the belief system of those who have attained  or in the process of  achieving higher education.

By any means necessary !

Many parents unwittingly begin to teach thier kids to cheat from an early age.

  1. They teach them to cheat to pass GSAT. Reward – if you don’t get into a good school ” dog nyam u suppa”
  2. We teach them to cheat in their end of year exam. Reward , you get to make the honour roll and get prizes and recognition.
  3. We teach them to cheat at CXC  and CSEC. Reward,  the possibility of scholarship to get to university to get a higher education.

Having grown up cheating and getting ahead, the naturally tendency is to continue to that same trajectory, because the rewards are great.

When these kids leave University  and become managers their goal is almost never to make the organization  better,  so not only you but your subordinates and others  can be rewarded. It’s always self-centered and cheating like they have used to doing all their lives.

The obvious question then becomes, where do we go from here and that is a tough question.

First we must do the following

  1. Inculcate a value system in our kids , which says we must endeavour at all time to do what is right despite all that is going on around us, that may be wrong.
  2. Teach them the principles are fairness and equity.
  3. Teach them the value to not only work hard, but being disciplined and work smart.
  4. Help them daily with their homework, if they are not understanding the principle behind getting the results, break it down in a simplified manner so they understand the “why”.
  5. Let them know it’s not just about the result, let them know they need to understand the correct way to get to the results.
  6. Don’t tell them only what not to do, teach them what is the correct way and why this way is correct.
  7. Show them divergent paths that could be used to get to the results and why you choose the method you decided to choose.
  8. Allow them to think by asking questions to stimulate their thought process.
  9. When they provide answers to questions you ask, find out why they choose that particular response to get their thought process.
  10. Let them know that they don’t have to step on others or do they wrong thing to get ahead, it may take a bit more time, but they can do what is right and still make it.



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