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Plagiarism in schools likely widespread - JTA president

Published:Wednesday | October 23, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter

President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Dr Mark Nicely, is adding his voice to those condemning plagiarism in high schools.

Referring to the alleged practice of teachers and students colluding to plagiarise Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) school-based assessments (SBAs) as a form of thievery, Nicely said: "SBA trains the child in the art of research, a skill they will take with them to the tertiary level. So if they are not allowed to go out and do the research themselves, and the child is not challenged, you are robbing them of the experience."

He said judging from his own experience as someone who marked such assessments for CXC, plagiarism in high schools might be widespread.

"As one of those persons who mark SBAs, I have seen papers that are identical with only the students' names changed, and this is not just happening in Jamaica, but across the Caribbean," Nicely stated.

COULD COMPROMISE INTEGRITY

He said that as a result, CXC should now consider employing more vigorous strategies to monitor and investigate the SBA process as this could negatively impact on the grades the council awards each year.

Nicely implored teachers across the country to act with decorum and desist from the practice and refrain from condoning plagiarism.

His sentiments come after the recent disqualification of 70 Jamaica College students who sat physics in the 2013 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination. The move came after the regional examination body investigated reports of wrongdoing with SBAs for the subject at the school.

Yesterday, Jamaica College principal, Ruel Reid, said the school had learnt from the recent transgression and had devised a strategy which it expected would stamp out the practice of plagiarism from first form.

Reid said the school had created an honour code, which the Ministry of Education is looking at mainstreaming.

Parents, teachers, and students will be expected to sign a certification of authorship stipulating that the student completed the assignment, fully disclosing all assistance received.

"We are saying that the parents and teachers also have a part to play in this, so we are going to hold each other accountable. And then the culture is also going to change from first form that we just don't plagiarise work, " Reid added.

jermaine.francis@gleanerjm.com