The COVID-19 situation is undeniably serious.
The highly contagious disease that’s believed to have stemmed from Wuhan has now travelled all over the world.
The total number of confirmed cases across the globe has already surpassed 200,000.
While some countries have resorted to drastic measures such as closing all schools and businesses, like in Italy, Singapore isn’t quite there yet.
Schools and businesses remain open amidst the rise in coronavirus cases here. However, some schools like NUS are taking it upon themselves to let their students study and even take exams from home.
Unfortunately, some take that for granted:
NUS Students Allegedly Cheated by Sharing Answers As Exams Are Taken At Home Due to COVID-19
Like any good school would, the National University of Singapore (NUS) allowed its students to take a practical examination from the comfort of their own homes and out of the clutches of the COVID-19.
They were warned not to cheat, although I believe that not cheating should be a given.
However, they did not heed the warning and went on to allegedly share their answers and plagiarised each other.
NUS Identifying The Alleged Cheaters
NUS is now launching an investigation and “scrutinising their submissions” in order to identify those who had allegedly cheated.
They will then be disciplined accordingly.
An NUS spokesman from the NUS School of Computing confirmed the incident and that they are indeed investigating.
Instructors are currently carrying out plagiarism checks but have yet to deduce who are the culprits.
“NUS takes a serious view of academic dishonesty and does not condone plagiarism,” she said.
Lecturer Teaching Module Emailed Students & Asked Those Guilty To Confess
The lecturer who is teaching the module in question, Mr Prabawa Adi Yoga Sidi had sent the students an email last week asking that the students come forward and confess if they had cheated.
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Several students have already heeded the email and came forward to confess that they had indeed cheated and plagiarised.
The exam is worth 15% of the final grade for the programming methodology module, which is compulsory for engineering students.
The module in question is called CS1010E and is described as an introduction to fundamental concepts of problem-solving, involving the use of computing and programming in the Python programming language.
According to the spokesman, around 680 students are enrolled in the module this semester.
The Exam Is Usually Held In Class
It is understood that the practical exam is usually held in a class setting. However, due to the current coronavirus outbreak, Mr Prabawa allowed it to be taken at home.
Students were required to log in at the same time to work on their own on three tasks which were made up of seven questions.
They were then instructed to submit their answers online.
The spokesman also said that the students had been reminded that there would be plagiarism checks and disciplinary action taken if they were caught.
NUS policy dictates that students who plagiarise or aid and abet such actions may be subject to disciplinary action.
“In addition, the student may receive a reduced grade, possibly even a zero mark, for the relevant academic assignment, project or thesis, and could receive a failed grade for the module,” said the spokesman.
“Any student caught plagiarizing will be required to retain the plagiarised module as graded.”
Some Alleged Cheaters Took To Facebook Page NUSWhispers To Share Thoughts
While some said that they had cheated because the conditions were difficult and it was expected, others regretted their decisions and said that they had learnt their lesson.
Another said that if disciplinary action was taken, the school would be at fault for “almost half” of the students being severely affected and having trouble graduating and finding jobs.
Your fault or NUS’s fault?
Students Who Didn’t Plagiarise Are Being Victimised Too
But there’s more to the problem than just ‘worrying’ about those who actually deserve the repercussions.
“Plagiarism is not a victimless crime. The students who are not plagiarising are being victimised. So we need to protect the victims,” said Mr Prabawa.
Indeed, I’m most worried about those that did not cheat but might’ve been wrongly identified to have cheated.
The instructors will also be addressing any concerns and will offer optional remedial sessions to help those who face problems and find the module difficult.
The Situation In Singapore
But there’s a wider issue beyond what’s occurring in NUS right now: the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore.
As of 19 March, there are 32 new cases of the coronavirus in Singapore. Of which, 24 cases are imported and 6 cases have unknown sources.
Out of the 32 new cases, 24 of them are imported and are returning residents, such as Singaporeans, Singapore PRs or long-term pass holders.
All of them have been to ASEAN, Europe and North America.
14 of them have been to the UK, a region that has “abandoned” efforts to contact trace new patients. You can read more about their reason for those here.
Out of the 345 cases, 124 of them have fully recovered and have been discharged, while 15 of them are in ICU.
Stay-Home Notice For Anyone Who Comes Into Singapore
Beginning tomorrow (20 March) 11.59pm onwards, anyone who comes into Singapore will need to serve a 14-day Stay-Home notice.
Translated? Cancel all your travel plans now unless you don’t mind being locked up at home for 14 days when you get back from your holiday.
Here’s more bad news: Schools will open as usual on Monday. Just kidding.
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