A history of cheats

April 2, 2015

Apparently “cheating is blossoming” in Russian universities (“Cheating is rife in Russia, finds student survey”, News, 26 March). This is nothing new. The use of shpargalki (cribs) has a long and dishonourable tradition in Russian education. These minutely written notes on very small rolls of paper that can be concealed in the hand have ingenious variants such as notes hidden inside a special pen or wristwatch. Many students in Russia believe that a “student without shpargalki is not a student”.

R. E. Rawles
Honorary research fellow in psychology
University College London

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