Friday, November 15, 2019

No More Cheating!

So now it is against the law to cheat at third level!

Katherine Donnelly in the Irish Independent reports "Crackdown on third level essay writing services begins in wake of anti-cheating laws". There is an amendment to the existing law on the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) (Amendment) Act 2019. The new section (43A, page 19) states that there it is now an "offence to provide or advertise cheating services". The act is pretty clear in what it intends, for example (section 43A, 2(a) and 2(b):

(a) undertaking in whole or in part, in the enrolled learner’s stead, an assignment or any other work that an enrolled learner is required to undertake as part of a programme, without authorisation from the person making the requirement;

(b) sitting an examination that an enrolled learner is required to sit as part of a programme, in the enrolled learner’s stead, or providing another person to sit the examination in place of the enrolled learner, without authorisation from the person setting the examination;

In short, it is now an offence either to provide or advertise cheating services or to publish adverts promoting such services such as the likes of essay mills.

According to Donnelly, it is estimated that "there are five or six major providers, as well as smaller operators, in the Irish market, offering services for learners across the spectrum from post-Leaving Cert courses up to PhD level". They would not exist without people paying for their services - around €150 for a 2,500 word essay is the going rate so I am told. These services are easy to find* - here's one at

Image source: Screen grab from

So there you go - the Government has stepped in and we can now predict that cheating will stop and the essay mills will go away. Hooray - academic dishonesty is now a thing of the past! Students won't have to pay for essays any more as this new law will motivate them to write their own essays. We will have no need to use plagiarism detection systems such as Turnitin, or be suspicious of student submissions ever again. 

*Please note that I am not in any way endorsing this, or any other essay writing service. All views expressed here are my own, and not those of anyone else or any institution.

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