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Dhaka Tribune

UGC recommends national plagiarism policy

  • The university apex body made the recommendations in its 49th annual report 2022
  • The report inluces14 recommendations
  • To be submitted to President Mohammed Shahabuddin at Banga Bhaban this week
Update : 11 Feb 2024, 10:01 AM

The University Grants Commission (UGC) wants to formulate a national plagiarism policy to promote academic integrity, ensure responsible conduct of research, and prevent plagiarism.

The university apex body made the recommendations in its 49th annual report 2022. The report, with 14 recommendations, will be submitted to President Mohammed Shahabuddin at Banga Bhaban this week.

In a recent conversation with Dhaka Tribune, a number of UGC members said that although some universities use detection tools for research papers written in English, there are no effective tools to check research in Bengali. Neither is there any plagiarism policy in any university in the country.

In this context, a proper policy can help students, teachers, researchers, and university authorities check plagiarism.

Educationists have also stressed the need for formulating a national policy, citing neighbouring countries, including India and Pakistan, which have national policies on plagiarism.

A couple of years ago, the Dhaka University Syndicate took disciplinary action against three teachers for plagiarism in academic papers and PhD theses.

The punished teachers are Samia Rahman of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Syed Mahfuzul Haque Marjan of the Department of Criminology, and Omar Faruq of the Department of Islamic History and Culture. Among them, Samia Rahman was demoted from Assistant Professor.

According to the report, the commission also wants to formulate a national ranking agency at the university level in line with international ranking criteria to create effective competition to improve the quality of education and research. The outline of these research initiatives will contribute to industrial-academic sectors.

Why is there a need for a ‘VC pool’?

At present, in the case of the appointment of a VC, the Ministry of Education conducts a search for the names of academics to be considered for appointment to the office, and the UGC also provides a name. After verification, the proposal is sent to the PMO office by shortlisting the names of three persons who are good candidates.

Later, the Prime Minister may select names from the proposed list or outside the list, but usually names from the list are given to the President. Later, the President signs and appoints the VC.

In 2020, the Ministry of Education initiated the appointment of VC, pro-VC, and treasurers under the ‘VC pool’ at private universities. But it has yet to be implemented.

The ministry argued that private universities cannot operate solely based on the trustee board. Although there are posts of VC, Pro VC, Treasurer at the university, private universities conduct their administrative work through trustee boards instead of VCs, pro VCs, and treasurers.

The annual report states that there is no proper vice-chancellor appointment policy for all universities except those run under the 1973 ordinance.

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, several UGC staffers said that they will introduce VC, pro-VC, and treasury appointment procedures under ‘VC pools’ to bring transparency to both the financial and administrative sectors at public universities.

When questioned about the current appointment procedures of VCs based on who has performed administrative duties and academic excellence in public universities, and why the 'VC pool' method should be introduced, a member of the commission said, wishing anonymity, “We initially call the 'VC Pool' method 'Name Pool' so that a database of information is available to the authority - so that vacancies can be appointed quickly, without having to search for names.”

He further stated that as there is no concrete policy for recruiting the VC or pro-VC in most public universities, universities should formulate policies in accordance with the UGC suggestions for such recruitment.

UGC Member Prof Abu Taher said that he has recommended forming a pool so that appointments at universities take place transparently based on educational and experiential excellence.

Other recommendations

The UGC also suggested necessary steps to facilitate three- or six-month internships or jointly conduct research in the industrial sector to build links between academia and industry, aiming to promote the country's socio-economic conditions.

It also suggested introducing ‘young research awards’, startups, and other effective programs so that students can focus on their academic excellence and contribute in various sectors.

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