I've been reading Freakonomics and am fascinated by the chapter on cheating among Chicago schoolteachers who, it seems, have had a tendency in the past to correct their pupils wrong answers before sending their tests in to the exam board. The idea of teacher fraud was new to me, but I'm familiar with that of rampant student cheating.
In fact, anyone who has spent any time in a French university knows that students here generally* have a completely different attitude to cheating in exams to anything one might have come across at one's alma mater. Over the years, I've had many discussions about this with my students and it seems impossible to communicate satisfactorily to them the stigma associated with cheating in universities in the English-speaking world. They laugh and argue that cheating is simply a game played out knowingly between examinee and examiner; that passing notes during an exam is a sign of "student solidarity"; that cribs (antisèches) are legitimate reference tools; and that only losers don't at least try to cheat. It makes exam invigilation a tiresome game of cat and mouse.
So we all agree that cheating is bad and certainly not at all comparable to telling tiny fibs through omission to the telephone people in order to secure a new phone. Good, I'm glad we got that straight.
*I'm not suggesting, of course, that every single student in France cheats all of the time. Many students are scrupulously honest.