Academic dishonesty: a menace for education system

Education is the foremost and important pillar of any society. It is considered one of the prime remedies for the problems faced by states like Pakistan. Unfortunately, the standard of education is not up to the mark in our country. Moreover, the current education system is not only facing problems on a policy level, it has also been threatened by intellectual dishonesty within the available fraternity of Pakistani academics.

According to a recent report published in one of the national newspapers, it has been disclosed that more than 30 faculty members of the International Islamic University have been involved in incidents of forgery. More than 102 research papers, which the faculty members have published under their names, are either plagiarised or fall below the standard of publication criteria being imposed by HEC.

These academicians are working on the posts of Lecturer, Assistant professors and even Professors in the said university and include faculty members from both male and female sections. This is indeed a matter of collective shame for our society.

Furthermore, these faculty members have received heavy amounts against these publications. This money should be recovered and granted to honest research scholars with original work.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that such an incident has taken place. The same institution also made headlines in 2012 when one of its senior faculty members had to face humiliation due to a similar plagiarism accusation, and was later blacklisted by the HEC.

This academic dishonesty and corruption has become a great menace for our society. According to me, any society may survive with economic corruption, but it will not survive long if its academics are corrupt. I believe a nation can only tackle the problem of economic corruption when it has great academic intellect.

It is the right time for HEC to strike and conduct a cleanup operation in the academia

This scandal has shaken the confidence in the entire academic fraternity of the country. It is the need of the hour that this scandal should not only be thoroughly investigated but the culprits should also be punished. It is the right time for HEC to strike and conduct a cleanup operation in the academia, as government of “Naya Pakistan” is trying to eradicate corruption from other spheres of the country.

HEC should also reconsider its policy regarding research journals. The criterion for the recognition of journals by the said authority must meet international standards of research publication. This is one of the reasons that faculty members being promoted nationally on the basis of quantity of research articles published in HEC recognised journal do not hold similar academic worth in international market, so our researchers lack specific international recognition.

According to reliable sources, no action has yet been taken against the involved faculty members by the university administration. Instead, university employees and students talking about the shameful news are being approached by different faculty members of the university and are told not to share such news as it is defaming the institution. The authorities should act against the policy of “complete silence” adopted by the university administration regarding such an important matter.

The writer is an MPhil graduate in International Relations. Currently visiting lecturer at COMSATs, Islamabad

Published in Daily Times, February 22nd 2019.

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