Universities and higher learning institutions have begun using anti-plagiarism software to promote academic honesty in the context of peer review dissertations, assignments as well as presentations.
A variety of free and commercial software applications designed to detect plagiarism from different sources -- internet, friends or relatives – have appeared to be good for the lecturers at colleges to curb plagiarism and lower grades awarded.
The internet has brought unprecedented opportunities for access to information and for contact with others but also new challenges for educators to promote critical thinking, independent learning and academic honesty but has also assisted students to increase plagiarism.
Plagiarism is far from a new phenomenon, yet claims that the internet has contributed to its increase are common.
The Institute of Accountancy Arusha (IAA) has moved to a new scenario after launching the use of anti-plagiarism software to mark academic researches of post-graduate degree students for ensuring that the institute gets quality products that compete in the labour market.
IAA Deputy Rector (Academics, Research and Consultancy), Dr. Faraji Kasidi, says that his institution has come up with anti-plagiarism software after realising that some students in various universities countrywide buy research papers and submit them as their original works.
He says the software would assist lecturers to detect some of the research papers that have been copied and encourage students to work hard on preparing their own researches.
“This technology is very new to the country. I am sure that the anti-plagiarism software will at least solve the problem of students submitting copied researches that have already been used by other people,” he explains.
The Arusha accountancy college has launched new academic programmes that go hand in hand with the market orientation to equip students the competence needed in the current competitive world of employment.
“The country is now preparing to join the East Africa Community, and we believe that through our programmes IAA products will compete at the market since our institution is widely recognised for its delivery of superior education,” Hellen Meshack, the IAA’s Director of Undergraduate Studies.
IAA has now increased Masters Degree student enrollment from 71 to 214 in the past four years as well as assisting some of the lectures to attain PhDs, according to the institute’s Rector Prof Johannes Monyo.
He says IAA’s strategic objectives for 2006/07- 2010/11 were formulated to set a direction that will ensure its sustainability and growth in the present competitive environment.
“It’s worth mentioning that the out-going IAA council facilitated establishment of the Dar es Salaam Campus which became operational since September, 2010. All Masters programmes which are conducted at the main campus are also run concurrently in the Dar es Salaam Campus while two more campuses are in the initial stages of being established namely Babati and Mwanza,” he says.
“We have introduced at least seven undergraduate degrees, three Masters programmes and training academic staff to doctorate level,” he adds.
According to Prof Monyo, the institute has uplifted the academic status of the staff affected by NACTE categorisation by training to the level of Masters Degree.
“The previous Governing Council under Chairperson Mwanaidi Mtanda oversaw the achievement of the institute’s strategic objectives through the completion of the preparation of over 20 curricula from certificate to Masters Degree level,” he says.
The management has also introduced six ordinary diploma programmes that took off in the academic year 2010/11. These are ordinary diploma in accountancy (ADA), ordinary diploma in finance and banking (BFB), ordinary diploma in procurement and logistics management (ODPLM) and ordinary diploma in business management (ODBM)”
When outgoing Governing Council was appointed in November 2008, student enrollment stood at about 2,700. Now the figure has shot up to 3,500 (an increase of approximately 30 percent), according to Prof Monyo.
He says given the expansion pace of the institute’s operations, a challenge has emerged in getting employment permits from the Central Establishment to satisfy the demand of additional workers as per requirements of the IAA Act.