Why Students Copy & Paste in Pakistan


Why to spend mind on hiding Copy-Paste assignments rather than learning something concrete by producing genuine work? But the Question is how to present original work when…

I resumed my university education again in 2008 and thus came across some burning issues of the students of today. I still remember how teachers used to condemn ‘copy paste’ assignments and leave no loop holes for students to come up with plagiarized work. Still, some students didn’t resist copy paste materials. Since then, my mind had always been buzzing with a question, WHY?

Gradually, with experience, I came to some conclusions based on my observations.

Students Shy of Hard Work

In the beginning I used to think that students, who stayed on campus full time while chatting, playing, dinning, dating and being busy with all sorts of activities, didn’t want to spend time with studies. Later, I learnt I was right to some extent; it was one of the reasons, but not the major cause.

After all, they attended all their classes, attempted the quizzes, studied for their exams, but when it came to assignments, why couldn’t they make them genuinely. I got stuck with this WHY, WHY?

Too Occupied to Study Students

I found some students working. They had jobs or internships to be occupied with, their family businesses to look after, their start-ups to build or their personal interests to purse. Some of them were already married with kids and were on full time jobs. All sorts of people had been managing their further education somehow which was amazing. However, it wasn’t humanly possible to perform equally good in all areas simultaneously. So, I thought they might not have had enough time to spend on desired research and writing.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t the real failing factor either. There was more behind ‘copy paste assignments and presentations’.

Students Lack Writing Skills

 “Oh, this is the actual point!” I solved the puzzle. My answer was applied to both shy of hard work and working students too.

Thanks to semester system, which allowed students to think critically and use their analytical abilities while studying. They were introduced to a new educational culture where they were encouraged to question, reflect and argue in the process of independent learning. But when they came to put their critical mind on the paper, most of them got numbed. They didn’t know how to transform their thoughts into sentences, how to weave sentences into paragraphs and how to arrange paragraph to speak their minds clearly. Which language and format should be used to make their work look academic?  It was so, because their rote learning schooling never allowed them to learn and experience the art of composing. They were never permitted to think and write differently than what was the part of their books or notes given by teachers or key-books.

Therefore, when they entered their colleges, it was a new scenario where they not only had to think independently but also supposed to express genuinely. Naturally, they found writing boring, scary and too challenging, except for those who came from expansive private schools or had natural flairs and passions for writing. Thus, generally, they lacked skill, courage, enthusiasm, energy, time and professional guidance on how to compose their assignments. So, they were left with the only and/or easy way out that was Copy & Paste. At least, this way, they were able to submit their course projects on time.

Unfortunately, even at college level, they didn’t have any programs to help them learn the art of composition; whereas, in fact, our undergraduates desired workshops that took them from correct grammar to the use of Microsoft Word, general composition, critical reviews and research papers writing. I would recommend these workshops semester wise.

Similarly, there should be Professional Creative Writing Programs in various genres of Fiction and Non-Fiction as part of our Mass Communication and Literature degrees respectively. It would help students to trust themselves with their skills and professional approach towards their work.

Are there some other reasons to Copy-Paste Work as well? Please comment and contribute to the discussion.

  1. Well written Kausar!
    It’s a shame if students are plagiarizing at any level let alone post graduate level. One of the factors you missed here is that of English being our second language. Some of the question that arise,
    is plagiarism as common when medium is Urdu?
    Are there any statistics to back up your observations?
    What are the profs doing in order to combat the issue?
    Plagiarism is not an issue in Pakistan only, it’s a worldwide problem.
    ( I am very pro Pakistan and dislike the fact how we are overly critical of everything Pakistani, but those are my viewpoints)

    • Thanks a lot Ghazala for your erudite comment. You are very right that it is a worldwide issue, not specifically a Pakistani problem. But since I write in the Pakistani context, I discussed only why Pakistani students Plagiarise. Of course, it’s about 20-30 % students who try to do so despite the professional ethical training by the professors. College faculty use different softwares to ensure that the students’ works are original. If found plagiarised, students are penalised.
      I agree with you that medium of education, that is a foreign language, ENGLISH, has a huge role in pushing students to do so. If we had an Urdu medium educational system or great schooling for English, the results would have been far different.

  2. I am extremely glad to read ur artical about copy paste work by students. I think ur last view about topic is more solid point than described above. As a educationist, i also observed that students did not have caliber to write his/her own views about topic, we “teachers” should take a postive step towards enhencing writing skills of students.

    • Thanks a lot Samreen for your interest in the post and stopping by here. I agree with you. It’s really a high time when we should take some measures to educate our nation better.

  3. A very good article which highlights flaws of today’s education system and students disinterest in their studies. Your conclusion is v apt that students lack writing skills. Moreover, they don’t want to put some effort in assignment preparation as semester system gives them margin to pass. This is so unfortunate that our students are not using their creative writing skills to polish themselves which is so essential nor the teachers n education system puts stress on it n highlights its importance among the learners. Originality is always valuable.

    • Thanks a lot Ayesha for such thought provoking views. You are absolutely right!

  4. Well, what I have learned during my educational career. I’ve come to a single and simple conclusion.
    It is goal in mind.
    Most of the students they don’t really know why they’re studying and what they really want to achieve. Some of them are there to get a degree and some just to spend some time with friends.
    These are the students involved in copy and paste thing.
    All those with clear goal in mind always move in right direction. They’ll learn and get some knowledge required to be there. So its lack of interest leads to short cuts.

  5. Thank you so much for contributing to the discussion. You have mentioned a very important aspect of the issue. Lack of self-actualization and goal-oriented studies leave them with no motivation to work hard in the right direction. I agree with you.

  6. I think this is becoming more a epic every where and now students have made it a habit to copy paste all their assignments and projects as internet offers you any thing and every thing and searching for information is one thing but its sad that these students gets credit for others peoples work and thoughts…..Some times it’s due to their busy and hectic work load or may be just coz they are simply lazy to put effort to make their own ……but what we should consider is the future of these students.

  7. There is some problem at teaching side also. It is found and experienced that many of the lecturers are also less sincere to their profession. They give marks for just their own written notes instead of asking students to get involved in productive discussions, real life stories and case studies. Such teachers are also contributing in copy paste, so the whole system needs to be reviewed. Teaching is a noble profession and a teacher can make difference through developing generations. The article should also highlight this side of picture 🙂

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