Analysing the nursing students’ perceptions with regards to academic dishonesty at selected university in KwaZulu-Natal.
Maloka, Mosimotsana Jeanett.
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Background: Academic dishonesty is a growing problem globally and represents unethical behaviour which results in students not acquiring the expected knowledge. Putting preventative measures in place would ameliorate the effects of academic dishonesty, but there was no idea of the prevalence of academic dishonesty in the School of Nursing at the University of KwaZuluNatal (UKZN). Accurate figures of the prevalence of this phenomenon were therefore not available for academic decision making at the university level, where the interventions were planned. In South Africa a study of this was only previously conducted in the Western Cape, and this is the reason why the researcher conducted the study. Methodology: A non-experimental, descriptive, exploratory design was used to guide the research process. 226 nursing students as participants. Data was collected by means of a questionnaire, and data analysis was performed using the SPSS version 24 software. Descriptive statistics and co-relational procedures were used to analyse the data. Results: The results showed that there was a significant relationship between gender and academic dishonesty. Evidence revealed that males were more likely to engage in cheating behaviour than females. Cheating behaviours associated with plagiarism, assignments when completing the workbooks and bringing and using unauthorised crib notes into tests and examinations were identified as the main problems. Recommendations: Nursing students at the selected institution were generally engaged in this academic dishonesty because of peer pressure and a lack of knowledge regarding the academic policies on the matter. It was recommended that the institution, together with the students, develop honour codes to accompany the existing academic policies and procedures. If students were included in the process they would become part of it, and if allowed ownership it would become easier for them to implement and abide by the honour code and reinforce the academic policies, and it would become easier for the faculty to inforce the policies. Key words academic dishonesty, nursing students, perception.