PLAGIARISM of research dissertations in many higher learning institutions in the country is at an all time high, a situation that needs immediate attention. “The situation is really alarming. Almost 90 per cent of the research dissertations received before a person graduates have either been lifted from other researches or reports,” the Institute of Finance Management, Faculty of Computing and Mathematics lecturer, Dr Eliamani Sedoyeka, said.
Dr Sedoyeka told the ‘Sunday News’ exclusively after the fifth convocation ceremony of the institute, where 22 graduands were conferred with Masters Degrees in Information Technology and Management that collaborative efforts were needed to curb this trend. He said that the faculty of computing and mathematics had gone out of its way to tighten the noose around this vice by ensuring that no one gets to graduate without defending their research in front of a viva voce. “Thanks to this mechanism, those interested in taking up a course know before hand that in order to graduate, they have to defend their dissertation in front of a panel (viva voce) and this helps bring about seriousness from the word go,” he said.
Dr Sedoyeka explained that the underlying reasons why so many people today opt to plagiarize their work is because many come for the certificate and not to actually learn something. He said that experience had shown that the majority of people especially those who opt for Masters Degrees want a higher paying position, to safeguard their position since many young employees today come equipped with the degree. Suggesting that the country borrows a leaf from the Western countries, Dr Sedoyeka advised that higher learning institutions should have software where all research dissertations are fed into it and can check the originality of the students’ work. “Of course there are loopholes in this process, hence the reason for collaborative efforts. I feel that if all higher learning institutions tightened their screws like we have, then we will surely curb this problem once and for all,” he noted.
He said that one big challenge the programme was facing was how to provide more support to those enrolled in it because it was catered more for the working professionals. He said that there were many cases where the students’ employees were not cooperative enough, forcing the lecturers to be flexible during times of tests though this flexibility proved difficult for research, which is between June and December each year. Earlier, the Avinashilingam University for Women Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sheela Ramachandran, congratulated the 22 graduates, reminding them that they had not just stepped into a new arena, but had inherited a brand new world.
Prof Ramachandran said that in a knowledge society, information was a commodity, thus shifting through this information and being able to take decision would help differentiate them from the rest of society. “Your ability to differentiate yourself will completely rest on your comprehension of the problem, analytical and decision making skills. I hope your dreams take you to the corner of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes,” she said.
Calling on the government, she urged that there was a need to bring in advancements in the modernization of educational institutions, addressing their interlinked roles in education, research and innovation, as a key element of a nation’s drive to create a knowledge-based society and economy. The IFM Deputy Rector, Prof Tadeo Satta, explained that the cooperation between Avinashilingam University for Women of Tamil Nadu, India and IFM had been in existence for the past five years and it was going strong.
Prof Satta said that over 120 people had acquired Masters Degrees in the five years though there were ongoing efforts to widen the cooperation. “Annually we enroll 40-45 students into the programme, yet we receive over 140 applications. It is quite clear that the demand for this programme is very high and we will see how to accommodate more people,” he said.