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Integrity in our education institutions

This refers to the use of someone else ideas, words or works without proper acknowledgement (Carroll, J. 2002). This is a growing problem in the tertiary institutions as supported by numerous research studies and the attention the topic is attracting to the literature. This reduces the thinking ability of the students and other researchers. Cyber cheating as a fraudulent activity is very common in these institutions of higher learning (Crisp, G ,2005).

For students, they are at best a barrier to their own learning and thinking and at worst acts as a deceiving for short time personal gain at the expense of their fellow students and the institution in general. These institutions need to be tough on this vice which is actively propping in the society. Clear distinction should be made on the use of “intent” to clarify the difference between plagiarism as an offence and as a learning activity.

It is therefore important for an organization to have a well organized procedure and a firm commitment to keeping the integrity of the institution by enabling it to take firm but fair and effective disciplinary actions against students who intend to exploit others in a bid to gain some short term advantages. The subject of plagiarism presents its own difficulties as the consequences of stating or implying that all plagiarism is unacceptable is void.

In real facts incidences of plagiarism are seen firstly as misbehavior that require penalties or punishment and it is in the hands of the assessor or the academic officer to decide whether or not to allow some form of plagiarism during an initial learning period. In most cases students who practice these acts are inappropriately exposed to the possibility of disciplinary procedures. This however, exposes these academics to some sort of risks due to these policies by being accused of favoring certain students and hence lowering the institutions integrity.

Measures such as apprenticeship should be taken to reduce the incidences of plagiarism. This operates by a student’s notion of “their own” work. Students are encouraged to use original thinking or properly reference the work of another writer incase of any direct citations. Other measures include the use of anti plagiarism software and Turnitin. Some academic staff uses Turnitin by allowing students to submit drafts and adjust their citation in the light of the results.

Doing this leads the academic staff to accept that they are dealing not with a corrective strategy but one that needs to be part of main stream teaching. Big Time College Athletics Issues such as rape drug use and other unethical behaviors dominate these college athletic events. For instance, three members of Colorado football team were charged with rape and seven others found guilty of charges ranging from assault to misdemeanor menace. Three Oklahoma players have been charged with gang rape, one player shot another in the athletic dormitory and another charged with selling cocaine.

The list of these charges and trials in the education institutions is endless and the punitive actions differing depending on the facts. According to a study done by NCAA, in season, football and basketball players spend 30 hours a week on their sports.

They spend 13. 7 hours in the classroom and 11. 6 hours preparing for class; thus they spend a total of 4. 7 hours less time in class than they spend on sports. Even when its not season time, they spend more time on their sports than they do in class: 17. 9 hours compared to 14. 2 hours. These players also score lower on their exams and chances of them repeating one or more courses are high. The study further indicates that student athletes miss about 2 classes a week when their sports are in season while students participating in other extra curricular activities miss 1. 2 hours. This implies that sports have been over emphasized at the expense of education. These problems in college athletics need to be addressed and a viable solution sought.

This is because some colleges are even turned this to be a business. The issues of drugs and immoral behavior should be tackled by punitive disciplinary measures for the offenders. These could include suspension, dismissals or court actions if the intensity of the case is big. Similarly, guidance and counseling sessions should often be offered to the students. Professionalization of college sports and paying athletes can also be used to alleviate some of the problems cited today in education institutions.

Players should also be given some sort of certificate or a degree related to the sport in which he/she participates and encouraged to take certain classes such as marketing, finance, or engineering which they may use in their careers. The idea behind this is to safe guard these players from being misused by certain agents. Mismanagement of Program and Services. This is aimed at ensuring financial integrity which arises as a result of non-complying with the numerous financial laws and regulations which focus on result service quality and customer satisfaction.

Auditors work is very important in gauging the financial integrity on an institution. This is done through the audit report (qualified or unqualified) issued at the end of each financial year (Halliday, M. A. K. & Martin, J. R. 1993). As part of the audit of the financial statement the auditors reviews all the internal controls by ensuring that they comply with the accounting regulations and rules and maintain an accurate record and accountability of assets. This forms the basis of the report.

If the report is not favorable, that is a qualified report, the involved culprits should be subjected to the appropriate disciplinary action but in most cases this is not done hence a motivator to further penetration of similar intentional mistakes. Alternatively, the institution could make it more difficult for the auditors to audit the financial statements. The system could also have inadequacies that lead to difficulties in producing financial statements hence ultimately translating to a disclaimer of opinion (no opinion) by the external auditor.

Major or Material weaknesses and reportable conditions also greatly enhance the mismanagement of programs and services. Material weakness refers to the plan or operation of one or more of internal control elements that does not decrease significantly the risk that error or irregularities in amounts that would be material in relation to the financial statements being audited may occur and not detected on time by the employees during the normal course of their duties.

While reportable conditions refers to the significant deficiencies in the design or operation of internal control that could have an effect on the institutions ability to record, process, summarize, and report financial data in accordance with the accounting standards. Corruption/Bribery Corruption as a vice has been in existence in our educational systems for a quite long time and unless properly harnessed by, this can have a big negative impact on our education institutions. The system does not pay attention to the integrity issues directly.

Most first and second cycle school run broad social science causes in which individual schools are expected to deal with environmental, religious moral and civic issues (Darling-Hammond, Linda ,1998). Without direct guidelines and standard formats, tenders in most cases are awarded in grounds that raise a lot of questions. Various studies have been done over the past which indicates that corruption in educational institutions has a negative impact on the operations of the institutions and the economy as a whole. The costs implicated are overwhelming.

These include transaction costs, inefficiencies, and poor quality of services, poor decisions and undermining the social values. Educational institutions are affected by corruption in two notable ways: 1. Depletion of public resources and the strain on the educational budget in which case most of its activities are financed through. This applies to the public institutions. 2. Costs in delivering their education services and quality. Most of the students don’t have the required resources to excel in his/her learning effectively. Such as text books and writing materials

The main factors leading to corruption in the educational systems can be attributed to the low salaries and by the academic staff hence the need of a more concentrated effort of upgrading the scales in relation to the skills, qualifications and economic factors. Conclusion Academic integrity should not be taken lightly as the future depends on it (McGowan, U. 2005). Academic dishonesty should be alleviated as this diminishes the values in our institutions and the moral capital required by society. Tolerating this form of vice would one of greatest menaces ever imparted on the society.

References:

Carroll, J. (2002). A handbook for deterring plagiarism in higher education. Oxford: Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development: Oxford Brookes University McGowan, U. (2005). Academic Integrity: An Awareness and Development Issue for Students and Staff. Journal for University Teaching and learning Practice (in press). Darling-Hammond, Linda (1998). Policy and Change: Getting Beyond Bureaucracy. In International Handbook of Educational Change. Great Britain: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Halliday, M. A. K. & Martin, J. R. (1993). Writing Science. Literacy and Discursive Power. London: Falmer Press.

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