Thailand's youth admit to cheating at an early age - and many think it's fine: survey

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Dishonesty in Thailand sprouts roots at an early age - with 81 per cent of young people admitting in a survey that they cheat in exams and 63 per cent saying they have signed a class attendance form for an absent classmate.

What is more, most of them do not regard such acts as seriously wrong, according to a large-scale, long-term survey of 4,000 people aged 15-24 in 21 provinces by the Khon Thai Foundation and market research company GfK Thailand.

The respondents were surveyed over five years up until February 2014 in a project to better understand their lifestyle, attitudes, behaviour and needs.

The results will be officially announced on November 20 at Bangkok's Sukosol Hotel.

In another reflection of a troubling ambivalence towards dishonesty, about 25 per cent of the youths said they were comfortable with bribing a driving test officer to get a licence.

Family, friends and teachers were named as key influences to the values of respondents, in a potentially embarassing indicator of the quality of the upbringing of Thailand's young.

Seventy-eight per cent of the 90 per cent of respondents said they were under stress and identified their studies as the cause.

Some 99 per cent of the young people defined success as getting a good education and a well-paid job.

Social media has a big impact on their attitudes and behaviour. Respondents professed to spending about four hours a day chatting with friends, getting news and playing games online - which is just a little less than the time spent at school.

As a result, face-to-face interactions have been significantly reduced.