One of the ‘best’ students at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), a top public university, showed that the secret to success wasn’t hard work, but rather stealing someone else’s.
The research theses of four M Phil students of the Department of International Relations at the Quaid-i-Azam University, including a gold medal nominee, were found by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to be more than 60% plagiarised.
The HEC told the university to recheck these papers for plagiarism – copying someone else’s work or research without proper attribution.
QAU sources told The Express Tribune that the HEC wrote to the university, asking for the papers to be rechecked and to have the matter probed. Following the letter, the university withheld the results of these students.
The issue was discussed by the university’s Advance Study and Research Committee on March 19 and another committee was formed to look into the cases. The committee comprises Dr Khursheed Hussain (physics professor), Dr Qaiser Mushtaq (Dean of Natural Sciences) and Dr Amin Badsha (chemistry professor).
The committee has also been tasked to instruct students of advance studies on how to compile a research thesis with proper attribution.
One of the committee members confirmed to The Express Tribune that four students have been found guilty of plagiarism and their cases are being probed.
The professor said that in the past, the research theses of M Phil students were not checked for plagiarism. The HEC has provided all universities with access to Turnitin, which is a leading internet-based plagiarism-detection software, according to its website.
Universities previously used this software to check research works submitted by PhD students. Only recently did they decide to also check M Phil research papers for plagiarism.
The professor held the supervisors of these students responsible for not being able to detect the plagiarism earlier, saying that they should not be allowed to supervise students in future.
Established in 1967, the Quaid-i-Azam University was recently ranked as the top medium-sized general university in Pakistan by the HEC. It received a total score of 67, much higher than Government College University Lahore (GCU Lahore), which ranked second with 40. QAU’s scored 32.46 for the research that it produced, almost three times as high as GCU Lahore.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2012.