Contract cheating services that sell assignments and exam answers are the target of a $3.9 million federal government funding package to bankrupt them.
Funding goes to the Higher Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) to ensure its Higher Education Integrity Unit is able to enforce education integrity laws , the agency also working with social media companies such as Meta, LinkedIn and Gumtree to get the ads promoting academic cheating services have been removed.
At least 300 websites have been identified by TEQSA on suspicion of selling answers and assignments to registered students looking for an easy route through study at Australian universities.
The agency succeeded in getting two academic cheating websites blocked following a federal lawsuit last year.
There are 130 similar sites still under review. TEQSA will take steps to block these sites once investigations are complete.
Stuart Robert, the acting Minister for Education and Youth, said measures to curtail the custom of academic cheating websites are already reaping results.
The minister said computer searches for services selling assignments and assessments to registered students wanting to cheat had already declined.
“With data from TEQSA showing that searches for cheat services in Australia fell by 23.5% in the last half of 2021, it is clear that the Morrison government laws are disrupting cheaters,” Robert said.
“The laws penalize those who provide or promote cheat services with up to two years in prison and/or fines of up to $110,000, when the cheat service or advertisement is for commercial purposes. Laws also give us the power to block access to cheating websites.
Robert said TEQSA is also focused on looking at technologies like artificial intelligence and file sharing that are used by cheat service providers to circumvent site takedowns and bans.
“As the government’s tough stance on industry-scale academic cheating bears fruit, higher education providers and students must remain vigilant to this ever-evolving risk,” Robert said.
“I encourage providers to continue working with TEQSA to build student understanding of why cheating is never the right answer.”
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