Banning Essay Mills: Unethical or Unfair?

Over 40 university chiefs in the United Kingdom have advocated the banning of companies which offer essay writing services, or better known as “essay mills.” As many as 1 in 7 students across the UK might have paid for essay writing services from 2014-2018. Sam Gyimah, Minister of State for Universities, sees this as a problem as he deems it unethical and undermines the integrity of degree courses offered. Gyimah sent out a statement warning students of the price they have to pay if they consult essay mills. “I expect universities to be educating students about these services and highlight the stiff, and possibly life-changing, penalties they face.”

However, many argue that targeting students instead of the companies is the wrong path to take. Many calls for the same banning other countries around the world have imposed. Around 40 university chiefs wrote letters to the education secretary Damian Hinds MP in the hope of seeking changes in this dilemma.

Essay mills are banned in the United States and New Zealand, while in other countries, they are actively developing rules and legislation to reasonably deal with them.

Damian Hinds MP has yet responded.

A study done in August by Swansea University held questionnaires asking students if they had ever paid essay mills to complete their work. Reviewing surveys they did in 1978, statistics show a 15.7% rise in the number of students who admitted cheating.

Though buying services from essay mills aren’t illegal, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), which monitors standards in higher education in the UK, said submitting essays written by someone else is one form of plagiarism that would results in expulsion if caught.

Should universities focus on tackling the issues of essay mills by implementing more rules on the companies or letting the responsibility of that fall on the students?

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