Tuesday, September 15, 2009

UPM lecturers "hauled up" over plagiarism

The penalty for academic plagiarism in Malaysia is a mere "stern warning".

For anyone who has undergone tertiary education, you would have been made aware that plagiarism is a serious offence.

What message does this "stern warning" by Universiti Putra Malaysia send to aspiring students and lazy academics?

This is symptomatic of the Malaysian malaise. The culture of "sweeping things under the carpet".

And, yet, we pretend to wonder why we are losing in the competitive stakes.

I'm not saying that we should "rotan" these fellows. But, they need to be sacked. They weren't foolish students. They were lecturers, academics for Heaven's sake.

So, with Google planning to put out electronic versions of books out in the Internet everyone can be a "cut-and-paste" author too. All you get is a "stern warning" for plagiarism.


Anonymous said...

UPM stands for Universiti Putra Malaysia.

walla said...

THES rankings are not raised by publishing saleable guides on how to write resumes, especially when these are given freely on the web.

Like how to write research papers, there are certain elements and ways which have been found to be generally effective so one can't run too far away from norms. One can be imaginative but if the intended reader is expected to treat it as a chore, then it becomes just a document crafted not to ruffle his impatience while communicating as accurately as possible why the applicant should be considered.

It follows there could have been other ways to achieve the same noble objective which should have been considered first.

Set it as an assignment to the students and discuss their findings in session, ending with all chipping in to construct a resume template by which exercise everyone will learn why certain things are written in certain ways, how to highlight one's strengths and what mistakes to avoid. Since students can't be expected to have much yet to write on their past record, the session shouldn't take too long after providing for humor and confidence-building.

Or, get the Hal-Ehwal Pelajar guys to crack out some notes in their own words after absorbing all that's out there including inputs from regular employers. In fact they should organize on regular basis national surveys of employers across all industries on what they look for in their applicants, and then transmit the inputs to the students. Before they graduate.

It's the other thing at hand which looms larger. Apparently there was a jobstreet survey some years back which found that on average, the employer could receive 100,000 applications a year with some 75-80% unread, and he or she only spent 15 seconds on resumes read and chose only one candidate for interview out of every 245 applications received which might also explain why 80,000 were jobless (ref: http://is.gd/3hOcV).

This doesn't look like Darwin's theory of evolution in play. This looks more like mass extermination.

walla said...

It's not healthy to be jobless then poor. Neither is it healthy to be poor then jobless.

In the former, the young graduate has no job and will remain poor for as long as that nefarious situation persists.

In the latter, the old expired goods has no money and will remain jobless until our local friendly H1N1 virus extends the final welcomed and sore relief.

Indeed, more national and state effort should be made to alleviate the suffering in both. Given the above statistics, writing effective resumes is low on the pecking order. If jobs are scarce or frozen, the most heart-thumping resume isn't going to do anything. It's a jungle out there. And the young ones are suffering through no fault of their own.

That pain is too...excruciating...to contemplate. Especially by those who know what it was like to have a job and be a nice statistic of the income tax department. Despite the revenue going to build nice stadiums. Whose roofs will collapse. Mercifully before their launching.

Since those already employed would have dug in like they are in the trenches before the battle of Somne, we can reckon that most applications will be made by fresh graduates. They will show what they had done in school and college and reproduce their transcripts as residual emblem of their training. If the template works, all will be using the same eye-catchers. So how much difference can they make in order to beat the bet? The old contradiction remains that employers want experienced people but if people don't get employed how can they get experience.

'Somehow they will survive as did their seniors' seems wise and comforting words. But it would be nicer to see the government and industry come together and do something more concrete and permanent for them - the unemployed graduates now and the unemployed graduates in the future - while retooling the entire training regime to increase employability.

The money will be better spent on this than on paving the next roads in dough that lead to the next by-electioning town.

Employed and productive graduates will help build weakened and moroseable economies which will help poor lecturers earn better salaries so that they don't have to try to write 64-page reference guides to earn a pfennig here a penny there.

de minimis said...

Anon 5:46

Thank you for the correction.

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

I agree that stern action should be taken against them. Plus..... it should be highlighted in the media. More should be done to impress upon these thieves that plagiarism is a big word for stealing.

I've seen it all over and I think people are getting accustomed to doing it without batting an eyelash.

In some cases, I noted that praises were lapped up without the slightest tinge of shame or repentance.

We can only hope that this serve as a reminder to everyone to be honest.

Anonymous said...

Did the two copy cats come from UPM?

Did the newly minted Phd Star writer of the Guide ever really learn anything?

Does UPM encourage this so as to maintain their impressive annual productions of so many newly minted units of graduates, post graduates and Phd's?


Anonymous said...

do anyone know the names? hehe. really "wanted" to know them.