University heads call for ban on essay-writing companies

More than 40 university bosses in the United Kingdom have written to the education secretary calling for so-called essay mill companies to be banned. Some students pay for bespoke, original assignments – which cannot easily be detected by anti-plagiarism software, writes Katherine Smith for the BBC News.

But the letter says these essay-writing services should be targeted rather than those who pay for their services. Such services undermine the integrity of higher education and are unfair to honest, diligent students, they say. Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said the government was working to "bear down" on the problem – and added that “legislative options are not off the table”.

A recent survey of students around the world by Swansea University found about 15% had cheated in the past four years, up from an average of 3.5% over the past 40 years. The vice-chancellors say making the services illegal would stop them operating out of the UK and allow them to be removed from online search engine findings. In the letter, they call on the government to commit to introducing legislation to ban the provision and advertising of essay mills before the end of this parliament.
Full report on the BBC News site