Borrowing or plagiarism? asks TES over speech by head of respected education group
Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – The Times Education Supplement (TES), arguably one of the most widely-read education publications in the world of British but also in international education circles, has stirred up readers’ indignation with an article about a speech given by Jeffrey Beard, director general of the Geneva-based International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).
The TES reports that while one of the toughest problems facing education boards today is plagiarism, “it has emerged that those running the boards do not always practise what they preach. Jeffrey Beard, the head of one of the world’s most respected assessment organizations—the International Baccalaureate (IB)—has been caught red-handed passing off someone else’s work as his own.”
The speech to which the TES refers, was given in early August by Beard to the Chautauqua Institute in New York, USA, which, the next day, issued a statement quoted by the TES saying that the speech “‘drew heavily upon and quoted extensively from a speech given earlier in the year by Sir Ken Robinson'” a British writer and speaker well known in education circles.
The institute removed Beard’s speech from its web site, noting in its statement, cited by the TES, that Beard “neglected to cite his source or reveal the quotations for what they were. Yesterday’s speech was not original work.”
The institute appears to have stopped short of calling the speech plagiarism, but it makes it clear that it did not appreciate the lack of creative effort by the speaker.
The TES then quotes an IBO spokesperson whose statement that “on reflection” Beard could have been “more explicit” about his sources appears to have prompted irate comments on the TES site, from people familiar with the IBO’s stringent rules about plagiarism.
A student who is caught plagiarizing as part of the university-entry IB exam programme risks severe penalties, including failing the two-year programme.
TES opinion editor Michael Shaw, in comments following the article by his colleague William Stewart, notes that the judges are still out on whether or not plagiarism was actually committed because “the full text of Mr Beard’s speech at the Chautauqua Institution has not been published yet, precisely because the institution was upset about the plagiarism. Only a handful of direct quotes from it are in the public domain—and we were surprised to see that so many of them had clear similarities to Sir Ken’s speech.
“As we’ve still not obtained the full speech we have yet to see if he did use other sources with or without correct attribution, or whether or not there were further sections that resembled Sir Ken’s work.”
The IBO’s education programmes are followed by several schools in the Lake Geneva region.