I read an article today posted by the Connacht Tribune regarding the ongoing investigation into a case of plagiarism in the GMIT. You can read it for yourself HERE
I’ve been quite outspoken about my belief that the Irish third level education system is a pile of crap and is insanely corrupt. When I read the article above and indeed other articles about this plagiarism case, it baffles me. I know of several people directly and in fairness, some through hear say that have plagiarized work in both NUIG, UCD and GMIT. What baffles me about this case is that over 400k has been spent on an issue that isn’t unique to GMIT or to just Galway third level institutes, it’s an investigation into something which both students and lectures alike, know in their heart of hearts is something that happens very frequently. And yes, I’m not just talking about students plagiarizing, I’m talking about students plagiarizing and still being allowed to passed through despite them cheating.
But why is this so rampant? And why does it go roundly ignored? Also, why has it become such an issue in this case?
Well, it’s so rampant because the system not only allows it, but encourages it. Methods currently being used (well as current as 2011) to try and detect plagiarism are laughable and way outdated. On top of that, it’s at the lecturers discretion whether or not they flag the plagiarism…many students, particularly from my own experience, the mature students make themselves pests to the lecturers. If they want something, they won’t stop until they get it. If they are complete assholes and even cheats, I think some lecturers will just pass them to have a quite life. In Ireland, many of the students don’t work, some have never worked more than a part time summer job in their entire lives. They get their first taste of freedom in college with zero responsibilities, they don’t study for the year, they cram at the end of it. They take shortcuts whenever possible for assignments.
Why is it roundly ignored? If it was tackled properly and really tackled. Failure rates would probably be much, much higher. Which will hurt the colleges in the long run. If they aren’t producing results, their funding may be looked at. It might be increased, but it might also be reduced. Also, another reason may be the fact that this has likely been going on for decades now. I’ve spoken to people who went to college in other countries about the ‘tipping’ policy in many Irish Universities. It’s not something that happens in other places. Other places also have proper methods for checking work for plagiarism…not checking tabs in Word and doing a Google on sentences.
Ultimately, unfortunately, Irish colleges are not fit for purpose. They are corrupt lumbering dinosaurs that should have no place in 2014 or beyond.