The Ministry of Education should take steps to ensure that university dissertation plagiarism is prevented, the head of an education group said on Saturday, one day after Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) had his master’s degree revoked by National Taiwan University (NTU).
Union of Private School Educators president Yu Jung-hui (尤榮輝) said the cases involving Cheng and former Hsinchu mayor Lin Chih-chien (林智堅) in August were among the largest scandals to affect NTU.
The two incidents are likely the tip of the iceberg, Yu said, given that few academics and faculty members would be willing to act as whistle-blowers, and school administrators often hope that public reports of plagiarism fade from attention so they can “sweep them under the rug.”
Photo: Taipei Times file photograph
Yu’s appeal came after Cheng confirmed on Friday that NTU had determined that he had plagiarized parts of his master’s thesis at the NTU Graduate Institute of National Development. The school began investigating the thesis after a complaint was filed with NTU against Cheng in October.
Lin abandoned his campaign for Taoyuan mayor ahead of the Nov. 26 elections when an investigation determined that he had plagiarized parts of his master’s thesis.
Lin and Cheng had the same thesis advisor — Chen Ming-tong (陳明通), who is now the National Security Bureau director-general. All three are members of the Democratic Progressive Party.
Yu said politicians who want to study for degrees should put in the required effort rather than resorting to influence peddling.
Thesis advisers should be gatekeepers of academic ethics and must not be compromised by possible favors from politicians, he said.
NTU should also be held accountable over seemingly lax standards for checking the originality of academic papers, Yu said.
Separately, Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) on Saturday was asked at an event in Taipei if his ministry would hold NTU responsible for administrative oversight.
Pan said only that the ministry would remind universities to observe existing regulations.
Asked if all theses at the NTU Graduate Institute of National Development should be re-examined, Pan said the school is assessing whether such a move is necessary, and that the ministry would act based on the school’s reply.
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