Educationists from East African Community (EAC) partner states meeting in Kigali are thinking of how technology can be deployed to detect plagiarism in universities, which they say is rampant.
The observation was made during an ongoing meeting of education experts seeking to improve the quality of higher education in the region.
Participants argue that the region will have to deploy a software which will reveal plagiarised works, to help lecturers test the skills of their students.
According to Mike Kuria, the Deputy Executive Secretary of Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), higher learning institutions should set standards and guidelines to ensure that they test their students effectively.
“Plagiarism is wrong at any level. Universities should know the minimum originality of the students’ work and creativity before the work can be attributed to them,” he said.
Kuria said that students, right from undergraduate level, should be encouraged to invest more efforts in doing research.
Dr Léon Mugabo, a lecturer at the University of Rwanda (UR), said that the most important way of avoiding plagiarism is to educate people to become more competitive and to acknowledge sources whose works they use.
“While the majority of students commit it willingly, others do it ignorantly. They don’t know how to acknowledge other peoples’ work,” Mugabo said.
The UR Vice chancellor, Prof. Phillip Cotton, also agrees that the best way to tackle the issue of malpractice in the university is to improve quality of what is delivered to the students as well as undertaking regular follow-up sessions and trainings of lecturers.
Joshua Matare Sekamana, a fourth year student at University of Rwanda’s School of Journalism and Communication, was optimistic that the software will improve students’ performance and competitiveness on the labour market.
Audri Nziza, the guild president at the UR Nyarugenge campus, said that the move will enable students to produce their own works and improve quality education hence resulting in graduates who are ready for the labour market.