Today’s extra: Solidarity?

Yesterday I watched an interview with László Kéri, professor emeritus of political science at ELTE’s law school, on Olga Kálmán’s program “Egyenesen” (On the level/Straight from the shoulder) on Hír TV.

The conversation was largely about the sad state of the opposition, but at one point Kéri began talking about other ills of Hungarian society. He told Kálmán that he is happy that he is retired because the whole world has changed so dramatically around him. He especially disapproves of the university students who have been born in the last twenty years or so. Unlike earlier generations, they have no sense of solidarity. Can you image, he continued, one of his students came to the department and complained about a fellow student whom he had caught cheating. Oh, my God, Kálmán cried out, that’s terrible. She recalled the days when she and her fellow students used to help each other out in school. Finking on a fellow student was unheard of in those days, she said. What has happened to student solidarity?

Once Olga Kálmán had recovered from her shock, she wanted to know what explanation the student gave for his highly unusual action. The student said that he considered cheating unfair to others because the culprit “gains an undue advantage over the rest of the class.” Everybody is out only for himself, Kéri added sadly.

What do you think?

June 6, 2017
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Member
Central European feudalist traditions, one of my pet peeves… By “feudalism” I mean that there is little confidence in institutions as such, institutions which arise from the people, get their legitimation from the people and “belong to us all”. (The education system is there to serve us all, cheating weakens it, it’s against our interests.) To the contrary, the system is our enemy, and we are supposed to learn how to cheat it and find our own loopholes. (Socialized in the Nordic tradition, I’m still appalled at how my Central European friends and colleagues regard cheating at exams as a “Kavaliersdelikt”, “everybody’s doing it”.) Within this system, what counts is not transparency or solidarity in the sense of acknowledging the rules which are the same for all. No, everything is about vertical power relations between vassal and liege, about who is loyal to whom, who owes whom a service. (In this sense, the “maffia state” is actually a laymen’s version of a feudal state.) And “solidarity” in this sense, and obviously in Kéri’s sense, is an ad hoc alliance between people who for a brief moment realize that “they are in it together” – but who just cannot think in… Read more »
aida
Guest

I wish I could watch how Keri dealt with to point. On the face of it, it is encouraging. When I was at school in Hungary, cheating, ( puskazas) was absolutely acceptable to the pupils and the teachers more often than not, turned a blind eye. In my school in England I found that there was no “solidarity” amongst the pupils. If now the Hungarian students have renounced solidarity this demonstrates that we maybe seeing some positive development since 1989.

Ferenc
Guest

You should be able to watch Keri’s dealing here: http://hirtv.hu/egyenesen/gorcso-1396600
(haven’t watched it myself, so don’t now at what time in the video)

aida
Guest

Thanks

Member

I might have mentioned this story before in the HS comments section, but here goes again:

A few years ago, I was tutoring an assistant professor in English at one of Budapest’s major universities. One day, I arrived at her office and her face was positively crimson. I asked what was wrong. She responded that two of her students had just handed in assignments that had been plagiarized — FROM THE PROFFESSOR’S OWN DOCTORAL THESIS.

Apparently, sections of the doctorate had been uploaded to a website that students use for plagiarism purposes. Whoever uploaded it had forgot to include the author’s name.

She referred the incident to the relevant supervisory authority, which decided that an enye-benye was sufficient.

I draw two lessons from this story: Solidarity must exist, because students pool their cheating resources together on the Internet. The second one is, it is no wonder that CEU is the only competitive institution of higher learning in the country.

Wondercat
Guest

“If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend I hope I should have the guts to betray my country”. E.M. Forster.

So it goes everywhere.

But where would you be in the United States today, Prof Balogh, if persons inside the apparat were not ready to betray Donald Trump in the interests of… something higher?

Service to friendship. To patriotism. To the President. The Presidency. The constitution of the United States. Different persons burn their incense at different altars, the smoke rises within the temple, and the priestess who inhales its vapours prophesies.

We have to wait to find out which incense was the strongest, and if the prophecy shall be fulfilled.

Guest
Accepting cheating is idiotic – cheating might get you some points one day, but sooner or later others will find out what you really know and wether you are a fraud. More than 50 years ago as a mathematics student I made that experience (still remember it vividly): A frined of mine had had no time to do his home work 8some family trouble) and asked me for help so I gave him my solutions – but the lazy guy just copied them 1 to 1 so we both got zero points for our work! That was the only course where I was not in the top 10% then … I tried to talk it over with the prof’s assitant but he was adamant – you broke the rules, it doesn’t matter who plagiarised whom. Nonetheless I was accepted into the “Studienstiftung” – though I didn’t get a real stipend from them because “my father earned too much” – while he said that he of course also had to provide for my younger sisters. But ther suddenly was a way out: My friends and I were asked to become “Hilfsassistenten” which neant that we had to check other student’s homework… Read more »
Guest

Congratulations for being all the time in the top 10%. Thank you for sharing it with us 🙂

Guest

Sorry for the many typing mistakes – somehow my spell checker didn’t work and I was tired from working around the house …
It’s beeen much too hot here in Hungary during the last week – 32 degrees (90 Fahrenheit) is not normal for the beginning of June!
It must be Soros’s fault!

LwiiH
Guest

@wolfi7777, how fun… as a marker at my Uni I once split the grade on an assignment between 3 people that copied and gave 0 to the guy that authored the solution. He came to me alone and complained because his answer was perfect. My answer…. we can always take this up with the professor if you like. But this student knew that the institution I attended valued academic honesty and that the consequences of cheating were far more severe than the “warning” I dished out. There was no more copying.

As for standing in solidarity with my “fellow students”.. what a weak, and intellectually corrupt thought. It’s like police should protect police that break the law, it’s like doctors should protect doctors in cases of malpractice.. or politicians protect other politicians who are corrupt… and on and on…..

Guest

It is not clear to me how the culprit will gain an undue advantage over the rest of the class. OK, he will pass the exam or he will get a higher mark, but how can it affect my own knowledge on the subject or my own mark? Would I be better off in case he didn’t cheat? His cheating probably not in any way affects my own result. Those who cheat probably don’t do it to pass the exam with flying colours. They just want to pass.

Guest

There are several ways in which you would be affected:
-The average marks will be higher – so yours will be worth less
– When people realise that there was cheating your mark will also be devalued
– the cheater might get the job that you wanted instead of you because of his better marks

Of course in math cheating is not so easy – a prof or anyone interviewing you will soon realise what you really know – but in the “social sciences” anything might be possible!

wrfree
Guest
Re: ‘Would I be better off in case I didn’t cheat? Great question of assessment when it comes to ‘cheating’ and by logic just ‘trying to get buy’. True story and perhaps it gets to the ‘big picture’. One of my favorite professors assigned a paper on a Russian topic. I had plenty of time to do it and it was on a subject that I was interested in. Years on I can say that I screwed up royally. I simply did not put the required effort into it. Not only did I receive a poor mark but a personal admonishment from her. She said I was capable of writing a much better paper and to challenge me again she gave me another chance to do it. Of course I took it , got wise and concentrated on the effort at hand. It was worth the effort because I felt pleased that she gave me a much better mark. This was a great learning experience. Lessons learned.. ** ‘shortcuts’ which also include cheating chip away at the quest for integrity in learning and setting a standard in the university setting. It sets the bar low and will ask the eventual… Read more »
Roderick Beck
Guest

Tolerating bad behavior undermines the society. I would have thought that was obvious. May be that it why Hungary is so dysfunctional.

boroszlói
Guest
Keri is a bit outdated. I’m not sure how representative one student is by the way. I don’t like people who report on other individuals but there are problems and there were problems 30 years ago. But this instance wasn’t about solidarity to begin with and I don’t think solidarity as such is an issue which is relevant to a university’s operation. The main problem is the fact that grades at universities are totally arbitrary and Keri knows this. The exams are almost always about rote learning of texts and exams are very often oral so there’s no objective standard to which the performance can be measured. Some professors give out only As others just love to torment and then fail students just for the heck of it. Sexism and mannered, feudal “humor” are rampant. There’s almost always an element of randomness. There’s nothing wrong or special with today’s kids. They’re probably more conscious about the services provided them – provided for hefty tuition fees these days (even if paid for by the parents or from student loans which don’t appear as real money). It’s logical that some kids will complain about this and that. This is different from earlier… Read more »
Roderick Beck
Guest

It shows the rot in Hungary society. What sort of society tolerates corruption, tax evasion, dubious business dealings, not following the spirit of the law, etc.?

Joseph Forgas
Guest
This is an example of an interesting, but not that unusual moral dilemma, where one norm (solidarity with other students) conflicts with another valid norm, obeying the rules. The reason why in Keri’s time (presumably during the communist period) solidarity was considered more important is because the system of rules and norms was fundamentally illegitimate at the time. The rules were arbitrary, unfair, children of party officials enjoyed formal and informal study advantages, so the rules had little legitimacy and solidarity triumphed. The situation should be different when the rules are legitimate and transparent and apply equally to everybody. In such a situation, a student is morally justified in reporting somebody who cheats. Cheating is not a victim-less crime, as it benefits the cheater and disadvantages all those who obey the rules. Respect for legitimate rules and laws that apply equally to everyone is one of the essential foundations of all civil societies. Hungary has little or no such tradition, and this is partly the reason why extensive corruption and the obviously illegal behaviour of oligarchs, politicians and dishonesty in all spheres of everyday life in general is so readily tolerated. The move towards a properly functioning civil society would… Read more »
dvhr
Guest

Don’t forget the case of Zsolt Semjen, still deputy prime minister and head of coalition party KDNP. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zsolt_Semj%C3%A9n_academic_misconduct_controversy

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