Hot on the heels of South Africa and Belgium Ireland’s is the next Government to propose legislation to combat higher education fraud.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that cheating your way to a degree is as bad as lying about one.
A Bill has just been published with amendments to Qualifications and Quality Assurance legislation in Ireland making it an offence to provide or advertise cheating services.
Whilst students are already subject to the rules of their institutions about cheating, it has been impossible to deal with the thousands of essay mills putting pressure on students on campus, by email and even on posters in the London Underground to buy their writing services.
Lord Storey proposed an amendment to the Higher Education Research Act last year to tackle contract cheating in the UK, but it didn’t make it to legislation.
Hedd is part of the new QAA working group on academic integrity which has identified the legislative route as one of the priorities for the group. Last year the QAA published excellent guidance for HE Providers on this subject.
We have had some success using existing legislation to shut down bogus universities and diploma mills, but it’s inadequate for essay mills in its current form.
Specific laws governing higher education fraud might not lead to many more prosecutions, but should be a more powerful deterrent. We urge the UK Government to follow the Irish example and stop these companies.