UK Universities Chiefs Call for Ban on “Essay Mill”

essay writing

The universities bosses in the UK are calling for ban on “essay mill”, the so called essay writing services. The services are undermining the value of the degrees and cheating academic institutions. In some countries these essay mills are illegal, however, in the UK there is still no law to make the essay mills illegal.

A recent study shows that one in every seventh student may have used essay providing companies to cheat the university during the last four years. If a student is caught cheating, he may face punishment from the university, including possible disqualification. However, it is not illegal by the company to offer these services.

According to the BBC report, more than 40 vice-chancellors have submitted a petition to the education secretary calling for targeting essay providing services, rather than students who use them.

In an interview, the Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Today’s news on essay mills reveals the scale of the black market available to students – these services are normalising and enabling cheating, but also trying to devalue the quality of our degrees and put our world-class reputation at risk.

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah

“University is all about learning, training your intellect and applying knowledge to a high standard. Students work incredibly hard to get a place at university and those who choose to cheat risk throwing it all away, cheating their futures, for the sake of a shortcut.

“Students must not resort to cheating – it is not the solution for anyone who may be struggling on their course – the right thing is to speak to lecturers and get the right support.
“Legislative options are not off the table, but I also expect universities to be taking steps to tackle this issue – the OfS will take tough action if they fail to do so.”

In order to ban essay mills, a parliamentary petition is already started and till now 4,866 individuals have signed the petition to ask the UK government to pass a similar law to stamp out this unacceptable practice as the New Zealand and 17 US states already have made it illegal to provide or advertise contract cheating services.

A recent study by the Swansea University in which 54,514 students participated, revealed a significant rise of 15.7 in the number of students cheating their universities by submitting purchased essays and other academic papers between 2014 to 2018.

What is contract cheating?
• Contract cheating means a student submits a purchased essay from the third party as his own work which is also a form of plagiarism.
• Contract cheating involves purchasing an essay by paying a fee usually through an online essay writing website. However, it may also be obtained from a friend or a family member.
• Companies offering essay writing services are known as essay mills


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Niaz Shakir is the CEO of UK Newsline and the former Sub Editor at the Daily Mashriq Balochistan. He has written numerous articles in Urdu and English in various newspapers of Pakistan.

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