Plagiarism in Teaching and Learning in Institutions of Higher Education in Nigeria

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Plagiarism in Teaching and Learning in Institutions of Higher Education in Nigeria By
Sunusi Sani Adamu

Department of Electrical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
Bayero University Kano, Nigeria

Summary
Plagiarism is a worldwide abominable phenomenon in literary cycles; and even more so in teaching and learning. This study reflects on plagiarism issues in higher education in Nigeria from pedagogical aspects. The main of source of inputs for the study are published literature, peer discussions, the authors’ personal experiences in his place of work and conducted external examinations by the author. It is established that different forms of plagiarism exists in the subject area in this country. A particularly worrisome form of plagiarism, which the author dubs as “cash –and-carry plagiarism”, where students “buy” project reports, ideas and pay for system construction, is a frequently occurring phenomenon. Many plagiarism detection approaches are also discussed. The study also explores various reasons which lead students to plagiarize. The most visible causes include a lack of clear policy on plagiarism, large classes, summative assessments, teachers’ apathy to assessments/assignments and also misunderstanding of the issue by both teachers and students. While it may prove difficult to completely eradicate plagiarism from institutions, the study concludes by suggesting a number of containment options, such as, establishing a policy, publicizing plagiarism issues, staff and student trainings, and also adopting best practices of higher learning.

I INTRODUCTION
The rapid deterioration of the quality of graduates from institutions in Nigeria may lead to the total collapse of the society, because education is a key to success and prosperity. Though many people attributed the problem to the usual rhetorics; lack of funding, infrastructures, etc, there are some subtle issues, which in most cases are conveniently ignored. Among them is the issue of plagiarism. Why is plagiarism a problem?. To answer this question, it is important to go back to the main purpose of education, which is to produce or inculcate into the citizens of the society the ability for rational, and critical thinking to better the society in all aspects of human endeavor. This is achieved through formal lectures and research. As the person pass through a program he needs to be evaluated, which if found suitable, will be awarded a certificate showing a final graduation grade and also an honour to certify that the person demonstrated good character while learning. Plagiarism is top among the elements which prevents fair evaluation of students. The consequences are obvious everywhere; our graduates are not employable in most serious establishments, lack of research culture, and the seemingly the failure of our graduates to move the nation forward in any meaningful directions. Another reason for abhorring plagiarism is because it is considered as an act of academic cheating. Indeed in some institutions, plagiarism cases are treated at highest level of authority. This is due to the fact the teachers as well as the authorities are responsible for supporting honest and responsible scholarship. This presentation attempts to highlight and alerts the various stakeholders on the issue of plagiarism by answering such questions, as what is the meaning of plagiarism, why is it rampant in our educational system and concludes with offering some practical remediation or combating measures.

II FORMS OF PLAGIARISM
Although there is no universal definition of plagiarism, it can in simple terms be defined as the copying someone literary work, which is universally considered as act of academic fraud. Reference [1] quoted the Merriam-Webster OnLine Dictionary, as defining to “plagiarize” means 1) to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own 2) to use (another's production) without crediting the source 3) to commit literary...
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