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The scandal surrounding Annette Schavan, who was the German Minister of Education, gives rise to a great number of questions about the integrity in academic settings and education. It should be noted that Anette Schavan resigned from her post because she was accused of plagiarizing some parts of her doctoral dissertation (Kulish unpaged).
Therefore, one can say educational institutions and policy-makers should make sure such incidents are reduced to the minimum. This memorandum is aimed at discussing some of the main issues related to the problems of academic dishonesty and ways of preventing such cases from happening.
On the whole, one can say that ethics principles should play a vital role in education; without them, students are not likely to become good professionals or responsible citizens. This is the main argument that one can put forward.
The issues that the committee should take into account
There are several points that academic committee should take into consideration when developing policies that enforce ethical behavior in educational institutions. First of all, a great number of people, especially officials strive to highlight the fact that they have an academic degree (Kulish unpaged). Such a situation is characteristic of many European countries such as Germany (Kulish unpaged).
In this way, they attempt to raise their social prestige and gain the support of other people. This is one of the reasons why some of them claim that they have completed the dissertation. Nevertheless, the recent scandals indicate many of these individuals do not attach much importance to the educational value of degrees.
This is why they can be engaged in different forms of unethical behavior such as plagiarism (German education minister quits over plagiarism allegations unpaged). This is one of the points that be considered by the academic committee. Furthermore, one should bear in mind that contemporary technologies can offer many opportunities to people who want to attain academic degree without taking too much effort.
Nevertheless, the committee should also take into account that the accusations of plagiarism should be properly substantiated. The problem is that these claims can actually ruin professional of an individual who can be quite innocent. Again, the example of Annette Schavan is very eloquent because her governmental career can be almost ruined (German education minister quits over plagiarism allegations unpaged).
Finally, one should keep in mind that the case Annette Schavan does not imply that every governmental official can be suspected of unethical behavior. Overall, the problems highlighted by Nicolas Kulish in his article are particularly relevant nowadays when students find ways of violating rules that are adopted in academic settings. Therefore, this problem is very urgent, and it cannot be overlooked.
To a great extent, this behavior can be explained by the attitudes of many people who associate education with prestige, but not with knowledge, skills, or expertise. They are willing to emphasize their social status. This is one of the issues that are imbedded in the Annette Schavan scandal. Such a problem is encountered by many contemporary societies.
At this point, it is difficult to say whether the case of Annette Schavan involves any misrepresentations or misquotations because the former Minister of Education is going to dispute the revoke of her doctoral degree (Kulish unpaged). In fact, she is going to defend her right to the doctoral degree in the court (Kulish unpaged). Therefore, at this point, one cannot say that this person can be blamed for academic dishonesty.
It should be kept in mind in some cases, plagiarism can be unintentional. Very often, it can be attributed to carelessness, rather than the willingness to take credit for the ideas of others. Therefore, one cannot assume that violation of academic standards is associated with lack of ethical integrity. Such an assumption can hardly be called accurate.
This argument is particularly important when one speaks about the accusations of dishonesty that are leveled against people like Annette Schavan whose dissertation is now being scrutinized by the media (German education minister quits over plagiarism allegations unpaged).
Such claims should be based on the evidence that was thoroughly varied. This issue is of great concern to many educators who want to make sure that the principles of ethics are maintained in educational organizations.
Overall, it is possible to provide several recommendations to the academic committee. These suggestions can help educational institutions avoid many scandals as well as conflicts. First of all, each of the academic papers submitted by students should be checked for plagiarism.
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For this purpose the use of anti-plagiarism software can be very useful because it helps to detect those passages that could be taken from the works of other people. This step is critical for enforcing the principles of ethical behavior in academic settings. Secondly, the professors and scientific advisors should make sure that students do understand the topic of their research papers, articles or dissertations.
In this way, they can better detect instances of academic dishonesty, particularly the cases when students rely on the ideas of other people without giving credit to them. These are some of the main precautions that should be taken by educational organizations.
Certainly, this strategy will not ensure that every person follows the principles of academic integrity. Nevertheless, a great number of learners will be reluctant to commit academic fraud. This is the main rationale for adopting them.
Apart from that, the academic committee should also consider the case of Annette Schavan. It seems that people, who intend to assume governmental positions, should submit their academic paper to scrutiny. Again, this approach will make sure that officials comply with the principles of integrity that they so often advocate in their public discourse.
It seems that this approach is quite justifiable because people like Annette Schavan can shape the policies of the state. Thus, they should be able to reach the highest moral standards. These are some of the strategies that can be adopted by educational committees in order to promote the principles of ethics.
Overall, these examples indicate that various forms of dishonesty have not been eliminated from academic settings. In some cases, people can resort to plagiarism in effort to achieve success or status. Such behavior can even be observed in people who want to occupy the positions of authority in society.
By taking different precautions, educational organizations can avert many scandals such as the case of Annette Schavan. The main problem is that too many people value academic degrees, rather than knowledge and skills.
German education minister quits over plagiarism allegations 2013. 8 Feb. 2013 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU7Vt9hnvKc>
Kulish, Nicholas. “German Fascination With Degrees Claims Latest Victim: Education Minister.” The New York Times, 8 Feb. 2013. Web. <https://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/world/europe/german-education-chief-quits-in-scandal-reflecting-fascination-with-titles.html?_r=0>