Unisa Faces Challenges With Student Misconduct



Academic integrity is the cornerstone of any educational institution's reputation and success. Recognizing this, South Africa’s largest university has recently issued a stern warning to its students against engaging in academic misconduct.



The University of South Africa (Unisa) has been unwavering in its commitment to protecting academic integrity and maintaining a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of academic misconduct during assessments.

However, despite these efforts, the institution has noted a concerning increase in cases of cheating, plagiarism, ghostwriting, and other dishonest practices among students during online assessments.

In a recent statement Unisa noted:

Through our identification measures, we have noted a growing number of students who have engaged in cheating, plagiarism and ghost-writing, as well as students making use of service provider solutions and other forms of academic dishonesty during their online assessments.

Students have been urged to avoid academic misconduct, as the risk of engaging in such behaviour is not worth it. They are encouraged understand and follow the rules and regulations set by the university and to take advantage of resources that can help them succeed.  

Unisa adds, “By doing so, students can ensure that their academic records remain intact and that they are well-prepared for the future.”

Unisa Exam Rules & Regulations

In addition to cheating and plagiarism the institution says that listening to music or utilising such software without declaring the software is a transgression of Unisa’s examination rules and as a result, a student's marks will be withheld.

If a student is found to have been outside the invigilator app for a total of 10 minutes during their examination session, they will be considered to have violated Unisa's examination rules and their marks will be withheld.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Software has seen a recent growth in its popularity, as it can provide well-written answers to questions asked by its users, making it a beneficial source, especially for students.

Unisa has strictly prohibited the use of AI (ChatGPT, etc.) and online sources (Course Material) during online examination sessions and assessments.

"We continue to warn students not to engage in dishonest academic behaviours, such as copying answers from someone else, collaborating with others in providing answers, purchasing answer scripts from third-party suppliers, using prohibited materials, unethical usage or Artificial Intelligence Software (eg ChatGPT) or online sources." 

Furthermore, any proctoring or invigilation images found to be unrecognizable, obscured, faint or not containing a full facial image will be deemed a transgression of Unisa's examination rule, and students’ marks will be withheld.

Unisa Disciplinary Hearings

According to Unisa, the university has successfully conducted various disciplinary hearings against students found guilty of academic misconduct, via Unisa's Disciplinary Office. 

Over 97% of students who have sat for their disciplinary proceedings have been found guilty of academic misconduct.

The institution noted that the recent success in outcome at the disciplinary proceedings is largely due to the academic and support staff as well as the investigations arising from the whistleblowing hotline.

The penalties for misconduct have ranged from students being awarded a 0% final mark, to three-to-five-year suspensions and expulsions from the university.

The consequences of academic misconduct are quite severe, as students are not only suspended from continuing their studies at Unisa but at other South African universities.

Students with any information on dishonest or fraudulent activity related to Unisa exams are encourages to continue reporting it to the Fraud/Corruption Hotline on telephone number 0800 005 311.


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The University of South Africa (Unisa) has been in hot water throughout recent months, leading the Minister of Higher Education to weigh in and place the institution under administration. Unisa has since responded to the Minister's decision. 




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