More than 40 university bosses have written to the education secretary calling for so-called “essay mill” companies to be banned. Some students pay for bespoke, original assignments – which cannot easily be detected by anti-plagiarism software. The BBC reports.
But the letter says these essay-writing services should be targeted rather than those who pay for their services.
Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said the government was working to “bear down” on the problem – and added that “legislative options are not off the table”.
Students caught submitting work that is not their own face serious penalties, which can include being thrown off their university course.
However, in the UK it is not illegal to offer a commercial essay-writing service. And many advertise widely near university campuses and on social media.
A recent survey of students around the world by Swansea University found about 15% had cheated in the past four years, up from an average of 3.5% over the past 40 years.
It also suggested 31 million students globally had paid someone else to undertake their work.
In the letter, they call on the government to commit to introducing legislation to ban the provision and advertising of essay mills before the end of this Parliament.
Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said: “I expect universities to be educating students about these services and highlight the stiff, and possibly life-changing, penalties they face.”
Watch the video promoting these essay mills University bosses call for ban on essay-writing companies – Video
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