Integrity Policy now includes one more quality


An important aspect of academic integrity is having an integrity policy which stands on five pillars – access, approach, responsibility, details and support – for the framework and implementation of the policy.

Tracey Bretag, programme director, University of South Australia Business school, speaks on academic dishonesty

Academic integrity is an umbrella term for shared values of honesty, trust, respect, fairness and responsibility in all educational endeavours. Recently, the International Bench of Academic Integrity added the quality of courage to enact those values. All the above qualities are not worth if there is no courage. To enact those values in education, courage is what is required because this isn’t just a student issue. This issue affects every stakeholder at the university who is responsible – from agents to administrators, professional staff, vice chancellors, researchers, reviewers, editors, teachers, writers and students. Every stakeholder in the university has a responsibility to uphold these fundamental values and have the courage to enact them.

The values of honesty, trust, respect, fairness, responsibility and courage are becoming more acceptable around the world particularly in the West. UK, US and Australia adhere to the values of academic integrity. However, in India, people talk a lot about academic integrity but there is no accountability. Students still copy and get grades but don’t face any consequence.

In Australia there are strong policies and are followed strictly and everyone there is aware of the consequence on the breach of the policy.

For example, if a first-year undergraduate copies half of his/her paper, s/he is warned and told to re-submit the paper. S/he will then be graded out of 50% marks only – just the passing marks. The assignment is set up in such a way that the first papers are not marked for a lot of marks. If the same students do it the second time, they get zero, and they have a risk of failing the course. There will be an inquiry. If the investigation finds that students willingly do this repetitively, they can be suspended for a semester. If the misconduct continues, they can be expelled but for us the focus is on educating students.

These rules are quite surprising for Indian students who have come to Australia. Resultantly, their results to fall down. The first semester is difficult for them as they deal with different standards and expectations.



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