By: Selma Taapopi
Local universities said they have implemented methods of detecting whether an assignment was completed on behalf of the students. Both the University of Namibia (UNAM) and Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) use plagiarism checkers called Turn it in while lecturers and staff further identify between what their students contribute in class and the assignments they submit. NUST deputy vice chancellor Dr Andrew Niikondo and Unam spokesperson John Haufiku added that they are aware of advertisements circulating on social media where people offer services to assist with academic work. According to them, students who engage in such activities are promoting academic dishonesty and such actions are detrimental to the reputation of the university and the development of the country as a whole. Last month, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resources and Community Development flagged concerns of consultants being hired for PHD or Masters thesis.
A member of the parliamentary standing committee on human resources and community development, back-bencher Becky Ndjoze-Ojo, stated there students who are in possession of particular qualification but lack the capacity. Ndjoze-Ojo stated that she has noticed that people are writing dissertations and theses on behalf of students as consultancy which she said was not happening in the past. “It is so much that people study and find a consultant to write their PhD thesis, master’s thesis or dissertation but that qualification is actually not yours - it is false from the beginning,” Ndjoze-Ojo said at the time. Both UNAM and NUST stated that although there have not been registered cases of paid academic work, such cases are hard to detect but they have employed methods of detecting if an assignment was completed on behalf of the students. "It is also very bad for the student because, you come to school to study and to go out in the industry...that you are qualified in A and B in terms of programmes but in actual fact you are not qualified because the work that you submitted for examination was not yours. It was done by someone else. The problem is that when you get into the industry, you won't be able to do the work. It will also affect the reputation of the university because if you go out of our university into the industry people will question your qualification," stated Niikondo. Unam spokesperson John Haufiku stated they are unscrupulous individuals out there who may be trying to make profits from doing academic work for students and their message as a university is to say that it's wrong and that they shouldn't do it. "I would not really like to speak to the people who are doing this. They have a motive for why they're doing it and you can not ever interact with them. What I would like to do is give a message to the people who would listen and these are the students who participate in this sort of thing to say that you don't come to a university to pass, you come here to learn," stated Haufiku. Students were urged to do their academic work and not use the easy way out by cheating the system as it will negatively impact their future.