“Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that is right is to get by, and the only thing that is wrong is to get caught.”
– J. C. Watts
As defined by the ICAI (International Center for Academic Integrity), academic integrity is the commitment to five fundamental values, viz., honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility, along with the courage to act on them even in the face of adversity. (The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity, 2nd edition)
Recently I attended a two-day workshop organized by the IB (International Baccalaureate) for the DP/CP Librarians as our school is an IBCP (IB Career-related Program) candidacy school. During this workshop, we were introduced to the Academic Integrity Policy (Published in October 2019) of the IB, which can be easily found on their official website ibo.org. We were made to understand the IB’s stance on Academic Integrity and the practices and strategies followed by the IB to support learning through Academic Integrity.
Academic integrity is the core principle on which the entire education system is built. Authentic learning is not possible without academic integrity. Since the day we start learning or set our first foot in the school, we knowingly or unknowingly start to abide by the rules of Academic Integrity. In schools, teachers are the first point of contact to teach children to obey the principles of academic integrity, whereas, at home, the responsibility primarily lies on the parents. But even after implementing strict rules and regulations, it is observed that student academic misconduct is highly prevalent everywhere.
To curb such instances of academic dishonesty and to encourage academic integrity among students, the need to follow the five fundamental values of academic integrity must come from within the children and not by external force and pressure. At Arya Gurukul, the self-reflection method is used to willfully employ empathy within the students for the work of others so that they refrain from misdeeds toward others. This is done by asking them to reflect upon how they would feel if their hard work is credited to someone else (Academic Honesty Policy, Arya Gurukul).
In today’s age of information and digital natives, when academic misconduct, plagiarism, copyright infringement, etc., is so prevalent everywhere, it is the need of the hour to promote academic integrity more than ever before. The values of academic integrity should be instilled in children from their primary years and continued to be taught till the end of their education at age-appropriate levels, as this will help to create individuals of virtues who will continue to follow academic integrity even at their workplaces. Such individuals with high moral values and personal integrity will then be role models for their children and others, thereby creating a world where authentic and genuine work is created and published in all spheres of knowledge and creativity.
As the library is where information flows, we are responsible as librarians for promoting academic integrity by collaboratively working with the teachers and the parents. A few of the activities which can be conducted in the school library to support academic integrity are as follows:
Information literacy programs can be conducted in the library on various topics related to academic integrity, such as different types of Citation Tools, types of Citation Styles, etc.
Librarians can also create videos, presentations or web pages to create awareness among students on Academic Integrity, Plagiarism, Creative Commons Licenses, Copyright Infringement, etc.
Students can be taught to search and identify authentic resources on the internet.
They can also be taught how to search for articles in different E-Journals and E-Databases.
By Sneha A. Doke.