ISLAMABAD: Though the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has investigated over 200 cases of plagiarism against students and teachers since 2006, it is shocking that professors who prepare question papers for competitive examinations are also involved in ‘copy pasting.’
It has been learnt that a question asked in the Central Superior Services (CSS) examination held under the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) was copied from an entry test paper of the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI).
A faculty member of a university who marked the answer sheets of the CSS examinations requesting not to be identified said the paper of journalism, an elective subject, was held on February 18, 2014.
“As I was supposed to get the answer books for checking, I decided to see the question paper of the CSS paper. At the first glance, I felt that I have already seen question number seven. I read it again and remembered that the same question had been asked in the entry test for MS in the IIUI because my son had appeared in the test on January 17,” he said.
“I checked the IIUI question paper and was shocked to see that both the questions were the same. Even there was no difference of commas and the question mark. I have no objection to asking similar questions in different papers but the paper setter should use their own language and way of asking questions.”
He added that by looking at the question papers, one can easily understand that the CSS paper setter had copied the question from the IIUI question paper.
May be the other questions were also copied from some recently held exams.
According to the question papers, the three-line question was “In elections 2013, the social media were used as a vehicle of political advertising by the leading political parties of Pakistan. Do you think that social media had considerable effects on the election results? Please support your answer with concrete examples.”
A faculty member of the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) added that the FPSC should ensure that questions for the CSS exams were not carried from any recently-held exam because if someone have already attempted a question it becomes easier to solve it again.
“CSS is the most important exam and the cream of the country is selected through it. So this sort of blunders should not be made at such an important level,” he said.
“As far as I know, each paper setter sends three question papers for the CSS exam so rather than doing hard work they pick questions from different question papers and send them to the commission,” he said.
When contacted, former minister and eminent educationist Dr Attaur Rahman said if some part of a question accidentally matched with some other question it can be ignored but if a three liner question is similar to the other question it is not allowed.
“This is also plagiarism and the paper setters are not allowed to copy questions from anywhere. It is also dishonesty because questions should be written in the question setter’s own words,” he said.
“I cannot imagine that these things can be done at the CSS level. The paper setters hired should stop plagiarism,” he said.
An official of the FPSC, who was not authorised to speak to the media on record, said sometimes paper setters made blunders but the FPSC should not be blamed for it.
“I will inform the examination department about the issue and hopefully appropriate action will be taken,” he said.