Plagiarism is a serious academic offense and much has
been said about it. Besides being unethical, it can lead
to disciplinary actions or expulsions. TCX spoke to
PROF DR MANSOR FADZIL, Senior Vice President of OUM,
to get his views on this topic.
Jimmy: How does OUM view plagiarism?
Prof Mansor: As a university, we strive to produce quality
graduates who can write their own proposals, produce original
assignments and uphold academic integrity at all times. In order
for our country to progress, we need to produce graduates who
embrace integrity as part of their nature.
So, instead of focusing merely on plagiarism, we would
like to broaden our scope by inculcating “personal integrity”.
Soundness of moral character is important, especially in the
academic world where a large part of one’s education begins.
I believe that lack of integrity and greed contributed to the
recent fi nancial crisis. It was so severe that it affected not only
our country’s economy but the world’s fi nancial system as
In our efforts to deal with plagiarism, we are looking at the
bigger picture of promoting integrity among our staff, tutors
and learners. We believe that by cultivating this culture of
integrity, we will be able to eradicate plagiarism and other
unethical practices in our institution as well.
Jimmy: Is plagiarism a problem at OUM?
Prof Mansor: We see plagiarism as a very serious issue. I would
say that the situation is not very severe; I would put it between
10 to 15%. But this happens everywhere else as well. In fact, a
lot of universities admit having plagiarised work submitted by
their learners. Even the United Kingdom has a high plagiarism
rate. Of course, this is not by way of excusing ourselves, but
more a matter of stating the fact that it happens everywhere.
Jimmy: What are the key measures taken by OUM to reduce
Prof Mansor: One of the things that we are implementing
this coming May semester is to get learners to submit their
assignments online in order for us to feed them into our
plagiarism detection software. We have both free and licensed
software that we will use for this purpose.
Another thing we are doing is to come up with a more
comprehensive plagiarism policy in order for us to address
this menace. I have directed the Director of the Centre for
Teaching, Learning and Assessment (CTLA), Prof Dr Shaari
Abdul Hamid, to analyse, study and assess the best practices
with regards to plagiarism prevention and make proper
recommendations for us to adopt and tighten our plagiarism
policy. This policy is to address issues like what actions are
to be taken when a learner is caught plagiarising, who would
be held responsible, and the severity of plagiarism and its
We also plan to display our plagiarism policy on our
website, hopefully by the end of the year, to educate our
learners on this issue. Learners should know that avoiding
plagiarism is their responsibility.
Jimmy: Do you have any advice for our learners?
Prof Mansor: Learners who plagiarise are actually cheating
themselves and not the university. At the end of the day,
these learners will get grades that do not refl ect their true
capabilities. Consequently, they will face lots of challenges at
their workplace when they are unable to perform as expected.
They should take this opportunity to develop their skills and
not resort to shortcut methods to get their work done.