Academic Corruption

Babar Khan 

Corruption is a well-known term used for the misuse of money/finances allocated for projects and activities in different organization/departments and it has a very negative impact on several aspect of society. As mentioned by Hallak and Poisson, “the negative impact of corruption …increases transaction cost, reduce the efficiency and quality service, distorts the decision making process and undermines social values”. People highlight this misused and misconduct through print and electronic media without presenting remedial measures. There is a very serious form or type of corruption that is the root cause of financial corruption and none of us have discussed and highlighted this issue at any level.

Hallak and Piosson further highlighted, “the fight against corruption in specific sphere of education should be regarded as a major priority as it affects not only the volume of educational services as well as their quality and efficiency-and subsequently, educational outcomes – but also equity in education, and public confidence in education system” .This type of corruption is practiced in academia and I call it “Academic Corruption”. This type of corruption is more serious and dangerous than financial corruption. When academic corruption is triumphed over by the government, none governmental organization and in academia, then financial misuse will be uprooted automatically. The question is what academic corruption is and how it breeds financial corruption in our organization and society? Hallak and Poisson defined educational (academic) corruption as “the systematic  use of public office for private benefits whose impact is significant on access, quality and equity in education”  but I take it further that  Academic Corruption is misuse of knowledge, time and resources allocated in academia for a particular purpose in school, college and University teachers, administrator, managers and educational leadership. The term misuse mean teachers are not properly utilizing their knowledge, time and skills to educate students for which they are being paid handsome salaries with luxurious incentives; management and leadership takes mull decision violating merit and organizational policies; politician interfere in posting/transfer of teachers rather formulating high standard policies to raise quality education in academia. Indicating towards different dimension of issues related to corruption it is mentioned, “Corruption has also connection with the stability of political system, the existing legal framework, the transparency of public information, the level of accountability of individuals and institutions, the efficiency of the mechanism of governance in place”. Through academic corruption teacher at all level, are unable to inflate students’ maximum potential relevant to practical life. Teachers do not contribute quality time in the classroom and do not teach and practice the basic moral and ethical values and principle, i.e. honesty, commitment, institutional integrity and professional code of conduct. Most of the teachers even do not spend the allocated time for each session in the classroom.  If they spend, the quality of interaction between students and teachers, the ultimate outcome of each lesson/session they teach is of low as it should be. Every one of us needs to take a few minutes of our lives to reflect on the establishment of academic institution. Schools, colleges and universities are established that enable students/learners to develop deeper understanding of concepts, issues related to real life. These institutions must engage students think critically to find out solution of the issues and generate innovative ideas on future prospects. Does any school, college, university in Pakistan prepare such critical lot, if yes then why are we surrounded by gigantic issues with no solutions? If no then why is this academic corruption not highlighted through print, electronic and social media?

The critical aspect of academic corruption is lethargic involvement of educational leadership in academic matters. They are less interested to improve quality of teaching and learning process at classroom level. The leadership has anxiety to introduce strict monitoring and evaluation system academia and linked promotion and incentives with performance in their respective areas and overall improvement of the organization. To introduce such innovative and modern approaches of quality assurance, one has to challenge the statuesque and courage to uproot the traditional way of thinking and working. Consequently, leadership has to resist unfair sources of recruitment, posting and promotion of teachers in every academic institution to raise quality services, teaching and learning in academia.

Another dimension or aspect of academic institutions particular teachers is, inculcating moral, ethical and social values in students. Teachers have to engage students think out of box and logically and raise voice of reason rather voice of emotions. Academics (education) enforce teachers and students for taking peace building measures and develop harmony in the society by turning the negative part into positive. They have to contribute for the escalation of human being, society and Nation. It is said that the destiny of any country is shaped in her classroom. I invite each teacher to honestly and sincerely think and reflect, does our classroom in school, colleges and university shape the future of Pakistan. I leave the answer to the teachers. If their answer is not then we all teachers are involved in academic corruption and we need to rectify our action and classroom practices and contribute to the best of our ability and competence.

I have been thinking for a long time about a question that is “why we as Muslims suffer so much?? It is the issue with religion or is there any problem with its followers? When we meet people around us, every second if not the first person talks about Islam and refer to Islamic point of view, its values, principles and guidance but unfortunately none is ready to really practice what he/she says about Islam, Quran and Sunnah.  After very hard deliberation and debate I found one aspect of this problem is academic corruption in academia. In schools, colleges and Universities our focus is achieving higher score in midterm and annual examination and increase our percentage and GPA rather developing our enriched values and sound moral grounds.  Teachers do not develop students’ relational understanding. They are not engaged to developed linkage between what they learn in classroom and what they apply in their practical lives.  There are little opportunities in academic institutions for intellectual debates and generating indigenous knowledge rather we just relay on what other say.  Our schools, colleges and University have completely banned local wisdom and they encourage students to become knowledge consumer rather knowledge generators. I share an example to support my argument here.  We (teachers) have been teaching  Islamiat and Mathematics for years from grade 1 to master or sometime to PhD level but in Mathematics we never involved the students to reflect on how he/she can use all the arithmetic operations maintaining highest level of honesty when he/she starts his/her practical life. Teachers make the students sound enough and proficient in arithmetic, algebra, and geometry  and they are able to solve the questions given in the term or annual examination but when they are holding positions in practical life, they misuse the operation for financial corruption because teachers never linked these concept with moral integrity in the classroom and remind the students to maintain honesty, and considered moral and ethical boundaries when they have authority to use money independently in the society. Geometry is taught to ensure accuracy in measurement but our engineers measure the quality of any project without considering the fundamentals of their professional they have learned in their professional degrees. Similarly, in teaching Islamiat, teachers discuss the whole life of Prophet (PBUH), his honesty, truthfulness, commitment and highest level of morality from primary onwards but none of us practice these basic principles and perform our responsibilities and misuse the available resources for our personal gains.

Sometime, I see our education is body without soul because we have earned degrees from reputed institutions but we do not have the morality, ethics and professional values that is the actual preaching of God through Quran and Prophet (PBUH).  We need to think and reflect on why is this all happening?  The simple answer is that teachers have not played their critical role at all level and we need to understand that teaching in a school, college and university does not mean to share some tips, read a chapter for students or present some slides on concepts of different subject to enable them to respond question in examination. Teaching much more than that and it is about developing students’ life skills, explore students’ maximum potential unknown to them, engage them in investigation and research to enhance their creativity and innovation.  Hence, I urge teachers and institutional leadership to address academic corruption in academia and develop plans and strategies to shape the future of our nation/ country in classroom.

The contributor is an educator based in Gilgit. 

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