In today’s world of extreme competition in the field of education, the most common news we get to hear is about the academic fraud. There are twelve types of academic frauds namely cheating, bribery, misrepresentation, conspiracy, fabrication, collusion, duplicate submission, Academic misconduct, improper usage of computer/calculator, improper online course use, disruptive behaviour and certainly last but not the least Plagiarism. Before talking about the academic fraud happening around us, let us first discuss in detail about the major twelve types.
The first one being cheating, cheating is giving or taking information. Any small give or take during any conduct can be called cheating. For instance, copying from another student’s homework or test or allowing other students to copy your homework. Even having someone else plan and write a paper for you is considered cheating. Secondly, bribery is the most common case of academic fraud in some countries. Bribing the instructor or any personal involved with the test either during the test or after the test with any kind of capital for the exchange of good grades is an academic fraud.
In some places in the world the faculty involved in bribery are sentenced to a few years of imprisonment and a hefty fine. Misrepresentation is another common fraud seen. It is deceiving the instructor or faculty into believing fake excuses for the benefit of the student.
Let us discuss in detail about the most common type of academic fraud seen everywhere around us. PLAGIARISM, is representing someone else’s work as your own.
Many schools teach students about copying and pasting information into projects and assignments. But later, in the time of writing essays and completing assignments in Universities students tend to get help up for Plagiarized content. But is CTRL-C and CTRL-V really the option to go with? Most students don’t understand the consequences that they could face. “Most cases of plagiarism are considered misdemeanours, punishable by fines of anywhere between $100 and $50,000 – and up to one year in jail. Plagiarism can also be considered a felony under certain state and federal laws. For example, if a plagiarist copies and earns more than $2,500 from copyrighted material, he or she may face up to $250,000 in fines and up to ten years in jail.’ Even though it is not completely preventable and avoidable, it can try to be reduced to high levels. Schools and colleges can encourage students to write their own content and try giving them enough practice to write without using the online web. Giving essays about topics with easy research work and that require much less proof may help students refer online less and can completely prevent the case of plagiarism.
Academic integrity gets reduced when students buy their assignments online. School students in the GCC countries tend to depend on search engines like Google to complete their assignments. There is a serious drop in academic integrity when students but their assignments due to their incapability of completing assignments. It is easy for some students to get the grades like that but what about the other students who are fair and just and do proper research and submit assignments with hardly any plagiarism? When asked in the United Arab Emirates about why students tend to be a part of the academic dishonesty their main answer was getting good grades for those whose scholarships and financial aids depend mainly on their GPA. The main reason students tend to commit such a crime is due to the lack of time or having time and not planning in the right way.
In Dubai- computers have made it easier to catch plagiarism. There are many websites and software these days that help college professors to get through with plagiarism. With technology on the rise, there is no doubt that some students use this boon in a wrong way to submit work. However, the same technology has proved to be helpful in finding out and catching students from plagiarism. The fear of getting caught and the resulting penalty can in still the ethos of not cheating. Institutions need to have a clear policy for academic misconduct. This academic culture and ethical environment will not only help the student at this time and age but will also be a boon for them in the future. This will impact onto their workforce and foster a sense of ethic and fair play in every aspect of life. Ignorance is an excuse many students give. But is it really a valid excuse? Time management, planning and balancing academics with extracurricular activities and not leaving assignments to the last minute is imperative. Unfortunately, not all schools and institutions of learning train students for research or prepare them for university-level work requirements. Students lack the knowledge on how to distinguish between using a work piece as a reference and outright plagiarism.
According to Zeenath Reza Khan, cheating is a serious problem in the United Arab Emirates. According to her research and the surveys she has conducted, more than 78% of students have agreed to cheating. This makes is a problem in the field of education because it raises serious concern regarding the academic integrity of college graduates being churned out and into the United Arab Emirates workforce. Her research was focused in the UAE on e-cheating specifically rather than traditional cheating. She surveyed more than 1000 students since 2009 and has reported that 37.5 per cent of students took part in some form of traditional cheating, like copying of friends during exams or using textbooks or other notes in exams.
However, this is shockingly less that those reported by researches around the world, who have reported percentages ranging between 65 to 75 per cent in the United States and United Kingdom. While this may have been true for classes without technology or before the beginning of the digital era, the findings of Zeenath’s study highlight a totally different scenario. Due to the readily available material online, almost 78 per cent of students admitted to some form of e-cheating with the use of technology either inside or outside the classrooms.
When asked about why the students in UAE cheat or abide to plagiarism, Zeenath mentions that the students in UAE have a very laid-back approach and attitude, where they tend to work on an assignment or study for an exam at the last minute. Either they procrastinate or the have too much happening in their lives, which means they have less time to study. Parents and teachers play an important role as well. Mostly students cheating has been impacted by teachers who look the other way and tend to be ignorant to the fact that there is such a flaw in the system.
Piracy and copying of original content illegally is a problem the UAE government has been tackling for a while and students who are relaxed about software, movies and music piracy are also more likely to be inclined to cheat on exams or assignments. This is however unfair to students who though being under tremendous pressure to excel no matter what, feel they fall behind because of being too honest with their work. This feeling of failing or falling behind is one of the reason students cheat.
According to her research, use of technology by student cheaters regardless of their background has leapt more than 200 per cent. This is only because most students are not actually taught technology etiquette at a young age. For example, if a student who uses an online learning system during class are asked to download notes to study and sometimes reproduce and elaborate on, but they aren’t taught why this is acceptable.
Academic dishonestly, plagiarism and collusion are problems that have plagued universities for a long time. The expanding role that the World Wide Web plays in our day to day lives means that students like us have access to a plethora of resources and materials. With increasing student dependence on online resources, plagiarism has become the most popular academic fraud in the academic community.
The main question is why do students plagiarize? According to a research, many students have come up with various reasons as a factor of committing to plagiarism. Some students feel it is better getting some grade than getting a zero on an assignment and resort to plagiarizing their assignments or submissions. Majority of students enrolled in the under graduate programs come from a range of educational and cultural backgrounds. In some education systems, pupil is encouraged to copy chunks of information and copy it into their assignments and examinations. One of the effective ways to foster a culture of academic honestly and in still academic integrity lies in teaching the students the right ways of writing and not cheating.
Even though schools and employers look for candidates with good grades and perfect assignments and projects, cheating and plagiarizing will only deceive and make judgement very inaccurate. If a person is caught cheating, it demonstrates a fault in character like dishonestly and unfaithfulness. These are some traits that no school or company looks for in an applicant. Hence it is an absolute necessity to educate students on preserving academic integrity.