Plagiarism: the Cancer of East African University Education

Okoche John Michael Maxel


The African tradition generally discourages dishonesty of any form as a dishonest person is viewed as a liar, a cheat, a thief and a hypocrite. Academic dishonesty of any form is regarded as plagiarism; most universities punish this crime so as to promote academic integrity. Worldwide Universities have tried to deal with this dishonesty through promotion of integrity in communication, and leadership practices in all academic work. Plagiarism is evident in students' work such as essays, term papers, reports, dissertations and thesis.

Some Universities have established policies to regulate plagiarism for students in the handling of assignments, course works, research proposals, dissertations and any piece of work. The policies clearly articulate strict adherence of the code of conduct to deal with any form of plagiarism; collusion, fabrication and any other form of academic dishonesty. This is meant to build people of good values and high academic stature to capture job market and promote the image of the Universities. Education is not just the acquisition of knowledge only but personal development that encourages intellectual and moral development. Globally Universities aspire to produce creative and innovative professionals with high moral standing in society. Universities have tried to uphold honesty through teaching, mentorship, guidance, examination and implementation of honesty policies.

This paper discusses the various forms of plagiarism, causes, approaches and mechanisms that have been adopted to combat plagiarism, the current emerging trends and challenges of academic dishonesty and recommendations for combating the plagiarism in East Africa. This highlights that unless plagiarism is given proper attention it will continue to destroy the fabrics of university education like a cancer.

Keywords: Plagiarism, Honesty and Integrity.

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