Most of us are familiar with the term 'corruption'. Corruption is not a spontaneous but gradual process due to which it is referred to as a slippery slope. One of the main catalysts in the process of corruption is the greed for money. Academic fraud is the initial stage of the vicious cycle of corruption. It can be perceived that if a child shows academic dishonesty then he is prone to corruption.
People of the academic spectrum are expected to follow certain norms and ethical standards of their respective educational institutions. Additionally, they are expected to inform about misconduct to the respective authorities.
Academic Dishonesty refers to any type of deceitful behaviour which is performed by an individual in his/her formal academic term. It is opposite to academic integrity and is witnessed in every type of educational setting ranging from elementary to graduation level. It includes but may not be limited to:-plagiarism, cheating, sabotage, fabrication, or falsification.
When an act results in adoption or reproduction of ideas or words or statements of another individual without due permission of the author or full and clear acknowledgement that act is called plagiarism. It also includes unauthorized use of materials that belong to another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic content. It is irrespective of the fact being done with or without intention. It can be committed against materials in hard copy, soft copy, other media formats, and even live presentations. Examples are:-submitting of another's work as one's own, paraphrasing, mosaic, fabricating references.
Cheating involves possession of unauthorized material (whether in hard copy or digital format), study aid during an academic exercise. The act of communication between individuals during that exercise is also covered under the term. Examples:-allowing someone to copy from one's answer sheet, copying from another’s answer sheet, making someone else write your paper (without reasonable cause and prior permission), usage of materials like chits while giving an exam, collaborating with someone to conduct a test without the presence of professor, etc.
Sabotage involves destroying or dismantling another’s piece of work to prevent him from completing academic activity. It also includes failure to contribute to a team project (academic sabotage), example: - destroying another's experiment etc.
Fabrication or Falsification is an unauthorized creation or alteration to an original document of academic activity, for example: - making up of data which has no real existence or collection of data artificially and not from actual experimentation.
Academic misconduct is not a new concept to the world. It has its roots too which originate from China. In the Chinese Civil Services Examinations, cheating was prevalent though the punishment of death extended to examinee and examiner. There were many cases of plagiarism out of ignorance as there were no specific rules on proper citations from others' texts. In the early 19th and 20th century there was a practice named ‘essay mills’ exercised in the college campuses of the United States of America. In this, the same file of papers can be re-submitted by different students by a mere change of name. However, it was seen in the later period that academic integrity was supported whereas academic fraud was demoted.
According to research and surveys conducted by Dr. Donald McCabe and the International Center for Academic Integrity in 2015, 68% of students admitted cheating in undergraduate programs and 43% of students of graduate courses admitted cheating.
Furthermore, McCabe surveyed over 70,000 high school students at over 24 high schools in the United States. It was demonstrated that 58 percent of students admitted to plagiarism and 95 percent have participated in some form of cheating, whether it was on a test, plagiarism, or copying homework.
The Josephson Institute Center for Youth Ethics (published in June 2017) surveyed 43,000 high school students in public and private schools and found that 59 percent of high school students admitted cheating on a test during 2016. 34 percent self-reported doing it more than two times. One out of three high school students admitted to using internet for doing their assignments.
There are certain reasons for an individual’s dishonest behaviour in his/her academic period. At first, there is a thrust in an individual to prove himself better upon others'. In the thrust, he/she looks for shortcuts. Secondly, many are unable to manage the demands of student life so they look forwards to shortcuts. These shorts are acts of dishonesty. Other factors like:- parental pressure, making excuses and the environment may contribute to this unacceptable behaviour.
Academic dishonesty is the initial step towards the road of corruption. Corruption is the aggregated form of acts of dishonesty at academic dishonesty. Corruption denotes an abuse of power or position by an individual to gain unjustifiable profit leading to deterioration of the economy and society at large. It is prevalent in most of the countries but its degree of availability varies. It occurs at various levels such as:-political, educational, health-care systems, business corruption, etc.
In political corruption, illegitimate use of powers by a government official for his/her private gain. It can be committed through bribery, patronage, nepotism, cronyism, electoral frauds, gombeenism, etc. Corruption in education includes nepotism in appointments of teachers and bid-rigging for procurement of textbooks and supplies.
According to National Center for Biotechnology Information Journal published in 2003, health-care is one of the most corrupt services in India as determined by people's actual experiences as per the survey released by the Indian office of International NGO named Transparency International.
Probable causes for this type of anti-social exercise are:-firstly, inefficient administration and political structure lead to an increase in the level of corruption as suggested by many theories. More regulations lead to an increase in interaction with private sectors, thereby, higher will be the probability of that member getting involved in corrupt practices. Secondly, freedom of press plays an important role in spread of anti-corruption norms and also increases the social cost of shame to someone who indulged in corrupt practices. Thirdly, government size, structure, and system affect levels of corruption as in a democratic form of government there are fewer chances of corruption. As the members in a democratic government are re-elected through regular and fair elections, there should be less corruption example:- Denmark. Moreover, decentralisation leads to reduced corruption as the people have option to change the states rather than engaging themselves in corrupt practices. It is also said that the larger the size of government, higher are the chances of corruption as more state intervention is there. In addition to, all these factors transparency plays a key role as higher the levels of transparency, lesser the chances of corruption. Moreover, urbanisation, globalization, and poverty are some prominent causes of corruption.
According to Newton’s third law, every action has an equal and opposite reaction and therefore corruption too has its effects such as:-deterioration of investment climate as the level of corruption affects investment quality, thereby, reducing the country's growth level. Due to inefficient allocation of funds, productivity reduces which decreases the investment quality of a country. It puts a negative impact on human rights as well as corruption is believed to affect institutions in such a way that promotions and protection of human rights are reduced. Moreover, increases public expenditure and decreases public income, so one can conclude that it will also increase fiscal deficits. There is another significant loss named as 'Brain Drain' which means there is increased larger outflow and smaller inflow of educated people with the increase in corruption and it shatters down the speed of economic growth of a country.
In the Corruption Perception Index 2019 prepared by Transparency International, India ranked 80th among 180 countries. Denmark, New Zealand, and Finland are regarded as the least corrupt nations in the world. Transparency International also said that corruption is more prevalent where a huge amount of money flows freely into electoral campaigns and where governments cater only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
The Punjab National Bank fraud case (2018): Punjab National Bank issued a fraudulent letter of Rs.14, 356.84 crores at its branch office of Brady House in Fort, Mumbai. This fraud was planned by Nirav Modi in collusion with two PNB officials.
The INX Media Case(2019): During the Congress-led government named United Progressive Alliance. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) was alleged of some irregularities to media group INX Media receiving overseas funds to the tune of Rs.307 crore.
IMA Case(2019): The Karnataka-based IMA used to the multi-crore Ponzi scheme and allegedly duped lakhs of people promising higher returns using Islamic ways of investment.
CORRUPTION LAWS IN INDIA:
INDIAN PENAL CODE,1860:
Section 169 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 pertains to public servants unlawfully buying or bidding for property. Punishment is of up to two years or fine or both. Section 409 of the same mentions the criminal breach of trust by a public servant which is headed by the punishment of life imprisonment or punishment of up to ten years and fine.
THE PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION ACT,1988:
In this act, the definition of 'public servant' was extended. It lays down the provisions for public servants who accept remunerations other than what he is obliged to, in respect of any legal or illegal act, or to influence public servants is liable for a minimum punishment of six months and maximum punishment of five years and fine.
Amended in 2018:
An amendment was enacted in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 Act on 26 July 2018. It attempted to bring the 1988's Act in line with United Nations Convention against Corruption 2005, which was ratified by India in 2011. The definition of 'undue advantage' is added. Moreover, Section 9 of the previous act is amended to cover the offences committed by commercial organizations and people associated with it. Changes have been made in the trial process, punishments, and various other provisions.
Moreover, the Amendment Act makes it mandatory for Central Government to formulate and prescribe guidelines to prevent persons associated with commercial organizations from bribing any public servant.
THE PREVENTION OF MONEY LAUNDERING ACT,2002:
It enables the Government to confiscate the property gained illegally. Money laundering means projecting or claiming a property obtained or derived by criminal means (it amounts to scheduled offence) as untainted property. Penal consequences of money laundering involve rigorous imprisonment of three to seven years along with a fine of up to Rs.5 lakh.
THE BENAMI TRANSACTION(PROHIBITION)ACT,1988:
It prohibits benami transactions (property purchased using a fictitious person's name that does not pay for it). Imprisonment of up to three years and/or fine is the punishment for these types of transactions.
CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS:
Although education effects corruption yet imparting education cannot be the basic solution of dishonest practices either committed by students or public officers. There should be a planned way of reducing corruption. There should be strict enforcement of laws. Transparency should exist between government and its citizens to increase responsiveness between the two. There should be a committee to keep a check whether the amount of supplies is equivalent to the money spent on it or not. People and children should be made aware of the corrupt practices and penal consequences arising out of those practices through various media platforms. There should be a change in government processes by making them more public-oriented.
More focus should be laid down on preventing academic misconduct. It is always said that whatever manners one learns during his childhood, it remains with them until death. So, if the basic principles of academic integrity are imbibed in a child, he might not get indulged in corrupt practices. If a child commits an act of fraud, he should be punished accordingly because punishment cravers do not understand talks. Individual effort should be emphasized and people should be made to learn the importance of honesty.
By Amri Gupta