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Ep.177: Universities around the world have reported a spike in cases of academic cheating

Students are cheating by getting other people to write their essays. Source: Stone RF

During the pandemic, universities around the world have reported a spike in cases of academic cheating.

SCARICA la trascrizione col testo a fronte in inglese.     

Italian

Quando uno studente a Londra o New York va online per pagare qualcuno affinché scriva un saggio al suo posto, ci sono molte probabilità che il lavoro venga intrapreso da qualcuno in Kenya.

Le ragioni sono semplici: il Kenya è un paese che parla inglese con un sistema d’istruzione relativamente buono, ma dove le opportunità economiche sono spesso limitate.

"I'm David. I'm 23 year old. I do Bachelor of Arts in sociology, psychology."

Vi presento David, lui è uno studente all’ultimo anno d’università a Nairobi e, come la maggior parte degli studenti, scrive tesine.

Ma nel caso di David, non si tratta solo del suo corso di studi.

Per gli scorsi due anni, si è mantenuto scrivendo progetti per centinaia di sconosciuti da tutto il mondo.

"Mostly I do from the USA, UK also I have some assignments, UK and US together they are  365... Roughly 365." 

David è coinvolto in quello che è conosciuto come “scrittura accademica” o, in parole semplici, imbrogli, e racconta che senza questo lavoro non sarebbe in grado di mantenersi agli studi.

"Yes, actually, my parents are unable to sustain my staying in school and paying school fees because we have so many siblings. So I just saw that I have to look for a way to sustain my own self. And also maybe to contribute to the family at large."

Ora guadagna abbastanza, addirittura da affittare del terreno e mano d’opera per coltivare le piantagioni ed investire nel suo futuro.

Ha raccontato di non avere alcuno scrupolo sulla provenienza del suo reddito.

“No, I don't feel compromised. To us, we just know we are working, we are getting legal money. Yeah, we are making ourselves productive."

Ma anche nei dintorni della ricca università multimediale di Nairobi, diversi studenti sono coinvolti nella vendita di saggi, esasperando insegnanti come Gladys Morona.

"Of course, I hate it. Personally, I don't believe in cheating. I tell my students, it's not ethical. It's not right. It is a matter of survival for some people. Actually, for some, this is the only work they can do for now to have their family surviving. So it is kind of a dilemma."

La dottoressa ritiene che la responsabilità più grande nel fare qualcosa per questo problema spetti ai Paesi che hanno il più grande numero di clienti.

Alcuni Paesi dall’altra parte stanno ora intervenendo.

L’anno scorso, l’Australia ha reso illegali i servizi di vendita delle tesine ed una legislazione simile sta venendo presa in considerazione in Inghilterra.

Ma non è ancora chiaro quanto questa iniziativa possa essere efficace nel fermare una compravendita che oltrepassa i confini internazionali così facilmente. 

English

When a student in London or New York goes online to pay somebody to do their essay for them, chances are that the work will be picked up by someone in Kenya.

The reasons are simple - Kenya is an English-speaking country with a relatively good education system but one where economic opportunities are often limited. 

"I'm David. I'm 23 year old. I do Bachelor of Arts in sociology, psychology."

Meet David, he's a final year university student in Nairobi and like most students, he writes essays.

But in David's case, it's not just his own coursework.

For the past two years, he's paid his way by also writing assignments for hundreds of strangers around the world.

"Mostly I do from the USA, UK also I have some assignments, UK and US together they are  365... Roughly 365." 

David is involved in what's known here as “academic writing”, or in plain terms, cheating and for many of his friends, he says that without this work, he wouldn't be able to afford his own studies.

"Yes, actually, my parents are unable to sustain my staying in school and paying school fees because we have so many siblings. So I just saw that I have to look for a way to sustain my own self. And also maybe to contribute to the family at large."

He's now making enough to even rent farmland and labour to grow crops and invest in his future.

He says he has no qualms about the source of his income.

“No, I don't feel compromised. to us. We just know we are working, we are getting legal money. Yeah, we are making ourselves productive."

But even in the prosperous surroundings of Nairobi's multimedia University, some students are engaged in essay selling to the exasperation of lecturers like Dr Gladys Morona.

"Of course, I hate it. Personally, I don't believe in cheating. I tell my students, it's not ethical. It's not right. It is a matter of survival. For some people. Actually, for some, this is the only work they can do for now to have their family surviving. So it is kind of a dilemma."

She feels the greatest responsibility for doing something about this problem lies with the countries whose students are the main customers.

Some countries on the other side are now taking action.

Last year, Australia banned essay selling services, and similar legislation is being considered in England.

But it's not yet clear how effective this will be in stopping a trade that crosses international borders so easily.   

Report by Reha Kansara 

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