The results of national college entrance examinations, the three-day nationwide ordeal starting today, have a far-reaching impact on the future of every participant.
The weight of the exams is of such magnitude that some students will stop at nothing to get higher scores. Cheating is discovered almost every year, with some students even using advanced telecommunication equipment.
Starting this year, files will be established by the Ministry of Education and provincial educational departments on examinees found cheating on the exams.
The records will function as a stigma impacting an individual's college enrollment and future employment.
Cheating destroys the fairness of the college enrollment system, of which national entrance examinations are the accepted foundation.
Although the design of the examinations may leave much to be desired, they remain the fairest mechanism for the country's institutions of higher learning to select the best possible candidates.
The consequences of cheating, if unchecked, go far beyond the dishonest behavior of individual students. Those who have cheated their way into universities have robbed others of the opportunity to compete fairly for the opportunity of higher education. One person's dishonesty can damage the course of another person's life.
In addition, such dishonest behavior can be contagious. If unchecked, rampant cheating could damage our institutions of higher learning.
Thanks to overall efforts, the rate of cheating on college entrance exams has been kept to around 3.5 per 10,000 in the past several years. But that number is based on the cases discovered. Cracking down on cheating is an ongoing challenge.
The battle against cheating on these all-important exams is just part of the picture. Those in power who use their influence to benefit favored young people's acceptance to top universities are just as guilty of cheating. Those who benefit and those who suffer diminish our nation, whose young people are its future.