LEBANON: Essay-writers for hire degrade academia

A new academic year begins and "an ugly practice" continues to degrade the integrity of Lebanon's higher education system, writes Niamh Fleming-Farrell for The Daily Star. Essay-writers for hire and the 'entrepreneurs' who solicit work for them continue to defy deterrence and remain a threat to institutions' integrity.

Enabled by the internet and tempted by money, graduates and others trained in academic writing provide essays on demand, which irresponsible or desperate students then pass off as their own work. "It's an ugly practice," Talal Nizameddin, dean of student affairs at the American University of Beirut, told The Daily Star. "We know of one operator who 'stalks' AUB students."

Academic fraud of this kind is increasing worldwide. Many universities, including some Lebanese institutions, guard against more straightforward plagiarism by using software that detects tracts of text reproduced from online sources. However, detecting a custom-made piece of work is much more difficult.
Full report on The Daily Star site