VCs plan database to tame plagiarism

17Feb 2021
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
VCs plan database to tame plagiarism

​​​​​​​THE Committee of Vice Chancellors, Principals and Provosts in Tanzania (CVCPT) has decided to procure software to detect theft of intellectual property so as to rein in plagiarism, a major concern in higher learning institutions.

Vice Chancellor for the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) Prof Raphael Chibunda.

The committee has already commissioned the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology to design the uniform anti-plagiarism software, plus setting up a national database for local publications.

Speaking when handing over the chairmanship of CVCPT in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Vice Chancellor for the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) Prof Raphael Chibunda said that during his two year tenure there were a lot of issues that needed to be addressed, including how higher education can contribute more to national development.

“We had a lot on the list and we have achieved some of them, namely the issue of employment of foreign lecturers and delays in approval of new programmes, which was a concern from our members. We remain with others which the new leadership must continue working upon,” he said.

The issue of promotion of gender equity in higher learning institutions was another unfinished issue as the number of women leading higher education institutions is quite low.

 CVCPT was established under section 53 of the Universities Act, with a primary function of advising the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology on issues concerning higher education in the country.

In his remarks after taking over, the Vice Chancellor for Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, Prof Charles Mgone said the key issue on his menu was encouraging strong membership in CVCPT.

Though individual universities have software to control plagiarism there is need to come up with uniform software to ease linkage and consultation, he stated, noting that the quality of graduates was not only a problem for Tanzania as it changes due to changes in global trends.

Like other developing countries, Tanzania is not spared when it comes to educational plagiarism.

Education analysts say that universities can still curb the rampant fraudulence in academia but they caution that hesitation to adopt proper technologies will make the task more complicated.

A 2014 survey by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) highlighted stark and disturbing insights into the status of Tanzania’s higher education.

Covering about 100 public and private universities in five East African Community partner states, the survey found that 61 percent of graduates in Tanzania were ‘half-baked,’ ‘unfit for jobs’ and ‘lacking job market skills.’