Services Providing 'Essays For Cash' To Students To Be Made Illegal | TOTUM
Ben HaywardOctober 5th
2021

So-called essay-mills offering essay-writing services to students for a fee are to be made illegal under plans to tackle cheating, the government has announced. 

The Department for Education says it hopes the move will protect students from the ‘deceptive marketing techniques of contract cheating services’, with Skills Minister, Alex Burghart describing the practice as ‘completely unethical’

Mr Burghart said: “Essay mills profit by undermining the hard work most students do. We are taking steps to ban these cheating services.

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“We have also announced a new measure to make sure all young people receive broader careers guidance so everyone can get the advice that’s right for them.”

According to the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher Education, there are currently over 1,000 essay mills in operation.

The QAA’s Gareth Crossman, said the decision ‘sends a clear signal’ but that the higher education sector must work together to put the ‘unscrupulous outfits’ out of business.

A survey conducted in 2018 found that 15.7% of recent graduates admitted to cheating, reports the BBC - but Universities UK said it believed that the use of essay mills was rare.

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A spokeswoman said: “Universities have become increasingly experienced at dealing with such issues and are engaging with students from day one to underline the implications of cheating and how it can be avoided.”

She said universities welcomed the decision to make essay mills illegal, adding that all universities have their own codes of conduct with severe penalties for any student found to have been cheating. 

The National Union of Students said: “These private companies prey on students' vulnerabilities and insecurities to make money through exploitation, and never more so than during the pandemic.”

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The ban is just one of a number of measures being introduced to the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, which is due to enter its report stage in the House of Lords on October 12th.

The Department for Education website states: “The reforms outlined in the Bill will help to create more routes into skilled employment in sectors the economy needs such as engineering, digital, clean energy and manufacturing, so more people can secure well-paid jobs in their local areas, levelling up the nation and supporting communities to thrive.”

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