Let’s Discuss

Let me pose an ethical situation. Think of a situation in which you did or did not speak up about something you believed was wrong. What happened and how did what you did uphold or conflict with your values. This was an assignment question for my ethics course, but I felt that we as a community should share our values concerning these very real issues.


A situation that I have always considered as a question of ethics is the examination hall or scene, where the pressure is high and time is limited. At such a time, people are tense and I believe they would do anything to relieve the pressure, even for just a moment. I once believed that if I was ever put in a position that would compromise my integrity, I was never going to allow the temptation. I had thought that if I was given the opportunity to cheat on a test, I would not give in. I would take the road less traveled and look away, better still report the case.

Most Africans must have experienced some kind of unethical practice sometime during their lifetime. I am one of them and here is my story.

First, some context. Boarding school. First term, SS1. French examinations. You might think “why French?”. My school made it compulsory to learn French because the congregation of sisters who ran the school was founded in France. I had learned French all my life, so it was not a problem for me, therefore making me the target for this unethical issue. (Plus, it was the first thing I could think of that required a really hard decision).

Back to the time, the proctors (or “invigilators”, as we called them), had no clue about what French was and for that the students were thankful. The whole class felt that they required a translator for the exam and I was surprisingly chosen. Now here’s how it went down: one person asked for clarification of a question to the invigilator, and then everyone complained about being stuck on that question. The invigilator honestly just wanted to get the exam over with and so asked for a translation. All eyes turned and I was faced with the dilemma of translating the wrong thing or giving them the answer.

What do I do?

Please help me to decide.

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  • Anonymous X

    Can’t you tell the teacher?

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