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Academic integrity is a code of practice for the entire intellectual fraternity. It is a policy that governs the presentation of an original academic work. Upholding academic integrity consists of having a substantial level of honesty and ensuring that whatever perception that a person creates, it must be truly so. In that case therefore, if a student submits a work thereby creating an impression that it is his or her own work, it must be so. However, because it is not always possible for a student to come up with innovations and original work, it is expected that whenever someone else's work has been borrowed or referred to during the study, it must be acknowledged through citations, referencing and use of bibliographies whenever appropriate.
Acknowledging of other peoples work forms a fundamental aspect of maintaining the academic integrity. Achieving a high level of integrity in scholarly work demands that the students should be having a vast knowledge of what makes up academic dishonesty and the possible repercussions that they are likely to face at the event that they are found being guilty of academic dishonesty. This essay identifies the facts about academic honesty and the reasons why it is important for students to present an original work for assessment. We also seek to explore what other sources say about the maintenance of high academic integrity.
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Many institutions of higher learning have designed policies and codes of conducts which are intended to guide students in the development and submission of their assignments. They are put through clearly from the time one is admitted as a student. They do this not to punish student but rather to ensure that their institutions offers an opportunity of absolute development and nurturing of talents. Academic dishonesty is committed when either of the following occurs in the submitted work: plagiarism, falsehood and cheating. Academic integrity is guided by various principles which are outlined in the next sentences. It is an impossible task for an academic community to prosper in the absence of these values. Honesty forms a backbone of unlimited exchange of information and ideas. Likewise, mutual respect which is left to drown in the ruthless hands of civilization dwarfs is also another key value. Every community seeks for the truth and knowledge through use of individual and intellectual honesty.
It is also worth noting that the scope of honesty in the academic fraternity is quite expansive. It traverses the lengths knowledge dissemination, learning and research. Therefore, academic honesty should not be viewed as an exclusive responsibility of the students. Dishonesty remains an amorphous vice that is threatening to eat up to cherished virtue of truthfulness. It is a composition of anything that falls in the category of falsehood, misrepresentation or theft. Obtaining of information through dubious means or bribery also amount to dishonesty. It is a vice that must be shunned in the laboratories, classrooms and research fields. Academic honesty is not only about students and teachers but also concerns oneself. It is of paramount importance to be honest with oneself so as to complete the circuit of academic honesty. The professors on the other extreme end are supposed to set a binding precedence in showing the students what to do. They are expected to model for students what it means to be academically honest.
Ideally, education is a process which is heavily dependent on honesty. It can only be successful when the involved parties display an exemplary performance in their work. The type of students who cheat can never learn anything; acquire no skill nor knowledge and relevant expertise required in the exercise and advancement of their profession. A complete mockery is made out of the degree awarded to the students which is a ridicule culminating in the view of degree or any other award as just a paper other than the technical knowhow. This is a dangerous effect since the academic community will be relying on imposters. A carefully nurtured habit of honesty spans beyond academic excellence to being a lifelong character. Achievement of this virtue calls for self sacrifice and enormous boldness (Englehardt, Pritchard & Romesburg, 2010). Academic honesty carries a heavy weight in academic integrity but it does not mean that the other attributes are not equally important. Features like mutual respect, trust, responsibility and fairness forms other important parts of academic integrity.
Trust in its respect cannot exist alone. It is a result of honesty. The departmental heads and students must behave in a way in which trust is going to be build. There should be no suspicion arising from the policies formulated as well as from the students doing their rightful duties. Trust builds a strong foundation for the exchange of knowledge between individuals because a person borrowing or seeking advice from others is confident enough that the sourced information is right. This will go a long way in the fostering academic breakthroughs because every researcher is not going to waste time trying to find information for his own on what he could have actually outsourced.
The procedures and practices in an academic institution must embrace the virtue of fairness so as to achieve academic integrity in totality. In an educational process, continual evaluation plays a significant role both by the student and teaching staff alike. The teaching fraternity always examines their student to determine the proficiency in a given field they have been lecturing and tutoring on while on the other side the students evaluate their teachers on their ability to disseminate knowledge (Keith-Spiegel & Whitley, 2001). When this happens it must be strictly guided by the principle of fairness. No one should be judged with prejudice whenever evaluation is being made from whichever the side it is coming from.
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A student who struggles to make his own paper should not suffer for becoming honest with his work. Hard work must be delineated from talent and creativity. As stated earlier, it is the duty of everyone to uphold fairness in an academic institution. However this mutuality does not mean that the failure of the other side is going to warrant misconduct of the other. With these boundaries we should be sure that fairness is going to prevail which will in the end foster academic integrity (Gabriel, 2008).
Responsibility is another role of every member of scholarly community. Everyone must be held accountable for hi/her actions. No one should carry the unnecessary burden of others. The spirit of integrity can be nurtured through imposition of penalties and fines at the event a member of a community commit an offence by killing academic integrity. The challenge of this most important virtue is its dimension of collective responsibility. Application of this value must be carefully tailor-made to encourage honesty by reducing the consequences of an honest work and at the same time prevent misconduct.
In conclusion, academic integrity is a virtue that is being eroded continually by students who have resorted to pursue shortcuts in their research and academic works. The earlier cherished integrity faces a bleak future in the internet era. The readily available information on the internet can be easily copied and used as an original work (Sutherland, 2008). However, the technology moves fast and thus research has been done on software developments to allow for plagiarism detection. To achieve the fruits of academic integrity all the stakeholders must be responsible at a personal revel.