Academic corruption in a selected higher education institution in Zambia: examining the forms, causes and mitigation measures.

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Mugala, Alex
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The University of Zambia
Globally, academic corruption is a superfluous retrogressive issue that is largely jeopardising the academic integrity of higher learning institutions. This study therefore sought to examine the forms, causes and mitigation measures with regards to academic corruption in a selected higher learning institution in Zambia. This study encompassed a sample of 400 students and 3 Deans and 20 lecturers from whom the researcher collected quantitative and qualitative data using questionnaires and interview guides respectively. The researcher employed an embedded design and the respondents were sampled using simple random sampling (students) and typical case purposive sampling (lecturers). The quantitative data collected in this study was analysed using a software commonly known as SPSS and qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis. Results indicate a higher prevalence of academic corruption among students in comparison to lecturers, particularly with respect to plagiarism and cheating which were notably cited as the two commonest forms of academic corruption among students. Among lecturers, professional misconduct, biased marking or grading were cited as the commonest forms of academic corruption. The findings further suggest that academic corruption is triggered by various causes such as peer pressure, performance anxiety and several others. Among the causes, performance anxiety and failure to cope with the workload were cited as the two leading causes of academic corruption among students. As regards, mitigation measures, the study unearthed numerous measures that are employed to curtail academic corruption. Among the measures, suspension, dismissal and expulsion were prominently reported as the most common measures that are employed to mitigate academic corruption. Despite employing various mitigation measures, cases of academic corruption seem to be escalating. In view of this, the findings of this study confirm that indeed there is some level of corruption in the particular institution of higher learning as hypothesized. The study, therefore, recommends the usage of honour codes because they have proven to be an effective tool in the mitigation of academic corruption. The study further recommends the usage of plagiarism detection software, such as Safe Assign, Turn it in and Plagiarism Detect. These detection software’s enable users to compare their documents against other stored databases for plagiarism. Key words: Academic corruption, forms, causes, mitigation measures, and higher education institution.
Cheating (Education) , Cheating (Education)--Congresses. , Plagiarism--Congresses. , Classroom management. , Academic dishonesty. , Examination malpractice--Zambia.