Kyiv, August 11, 2015. The Ministry of Education encourages students and the academic community to begin the struggle against plagiarism. “We have to foster intolerance for plagiarism. We must dismiss people who have resorted to it, and create conditions under which plagiarists would have very serious problems with employment,” said Minister of Education of Ukraine (MEU) Serhiy Kvit during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center in conjunction with the center’s project, Ukrainian Media Center of Reforms. The Minister stressed that struggle against plagiarism is key to improving educational quality in Ukraine.
According to Kvit, in 2015 the Ministry of Education Examination Board found plagiarism in 20 scientific works; 11 of which are being analyzed to confirm the deed. Three individuals have been deprived of their degree. “Some of these people, despite the fact that academic institutions have proved the plagiarism, have the audacity to go to court. So we consulted our colleagues and decided that if judges decide in favor of these people, we will publish the names of the judges who protect plagiarists. Think of it as a threat on my part!” said Kvit.
According to the Minister the law, which entered into force on August 11, universities have to publish on their websites theses adopted for defense. The document specifies terms of the open online access to all parts of the work. Commenting on the document, Kvit noted that it is only the first step in the fight against plagiarism. “It is not the function of the Ministry of Education to punish plagiarism. It must be the job of academic institutions and students. Each university should develop their own code or regulation to fight against plagiarism. That’s what happens in developed countries,” said the Minister.
Kvit emphasized that Ukrainian institutions of higher education are required to develop plagiarism regulation documents in accordance with the recent law on higher education reform (see articles 16, 32). Three Ukrainian universities, namely Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University, Kyiv Polytechnic University and the University of Kharkiv have already developed these documents, and may serve as an example for others.
According the Minister of Education, the next step in the fight against plagiarism will be facilitating access to the dissertations database in the archives of the Ukrainian Institute of Scientific, Technical and Economic Information (UkrSTE). “UkrSTE has the texts of 130,000 theses defended since 1991, most of which are in electronic form. The current conversation centers around the need for universities and research institutes to make a cash contribution to UkrSTE in order to maintain continuous access to this theses database,” said Serhiy Kvit.
Kvit stated that the attitude of the academic community towards plagiarism is more tolerant than to any other form of academic fraud. According to research, ninety percent of students not only plagiarize, but also not consider it wrong, a fact the MEU finds very threatening.
Andriy Hevko, Deputy Minister of Education of Ukraine, noted the reluctance of law enforcement to deal with businesses that contribute to the spread of plagiarism by writing reports, theses and dissertations for a fee on demand. “In 2014, the MEU appealed to law enforcement agencies, namely the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor’s Office, and the Security Service. We gave them all the necessary contact information for these companies, asking the agencies to offer so-called test purchases. However, no one wanted to work in this manner. Unfortunately, the police do not want to deal with these cases,” said Andriy Hevko.