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“Contract-cheating” epidemic in Canadian universities
"Contract-cheating" epidemic in Canadian universities
Politics And Policy

“Contract-cheating” epidemic in Canadian universities 

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A ring of “contract-cheating” has been exposed. This contract cheating involves students outsourcing their essays to a third party to write them for a hefty fee, often well into the hundred dollar range.

Last march, CityNews reported on dozens of posters advertising for ehomework.ca, a contract-cheating website at University of Toronto’s St George Campus.

A man from Kenya, “Joseph” showed CityNews just how dodgy Ehomework’s practices are. ehomework.ca bolsters the claim that their papers are done by professional academics who are from Canada and the United States, are native English speakers and have attended North American Universities.

Located in Kenya, Joseph claimed to have written hundreds of essays and assignments that Canadian students submitted.

CityNews requested an essay and paid the $165 fee that ehomework.ca charged but Joseph said he had written it and only received 18$ of the 165$.

He claimed that he found the job by responding to a Craigslist ad in Kenya. Joseph showed that he had the logins for students at schools which included University of Toronto, York University, University of Ottawa and Simon Fraser University.

He claimed that he was offered help with immigrating to Canada if he worked at a reduced rate. Joseph feels the situation is unfair all around. “Understand that somebody somewhere is being exploited because of your work and you’re going to use that credit to find a good job there, leaving someone like me without anything.”

Incidents of plagiarism at University of Toronto have been steadily increasing in the last few years with 1000 incidents of plagiarism and 600 cases of unauthorized aid last year. And it is not only endemic to that school. 

An (albeit old) survey done by Academic Misconduct within Higher Education in Canada in 2006 found that 73% of university and college students cheated on a written work in high school, 58% cheated on tests in high school, 18% cheated on tests as an undergrad and 8% helped somebody else cheat.

I would bet that the actual numbers are higher because many students may be reluctant to share that they cheated even anonymously.

Most schools have harsh penalties for plagiarism that can range from failing the project, to failing the course, to suspension or expulsion for repeat offenders.

Courses often include content on plagiarism in the syllabi. Universities tend to use anti-plagarism software but sadly, they cannot detect contract-cheating.

Professors often have hundreds of students, especially in large institutions like University of Toronto, so they cannot discern a particular student’s writing style, to detect if it is different.

Another detriment to contract cheating is it creates a situation where wealthy students can outsource their essays for better grades and those who cannot afford to shell out hundreds of dollars have significantly more work, on top of often holding part-time jobs. This creates a situation where some students have inflated grades and are ill-prepared for their future. At the end of the day, honesty is the best policy and cheaters only end up hurting themselves.

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