‘Unethical’ test mills to be made illegal as part of new education reform

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Paid essay writing services will be made illegal in England as part of the government’s new plans to reform education.

Services that provide students with paid trials, known as ‘testing factories’, have become a problem at many universities, but are not yet illegal in the UK.

Skills Minister Alex Bughart said in a statement: “Testing factories are totally unethical and profit by undermining the hard work of most students. We are taking action to ban these cheating services. “

There are over 1,000 active testing factories across the country according to the UK’s academic standards watchdog – the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education – and a 2018 investigation suggested that about one in seven graduates used copywriting factories.

Responding to the ban, a spokesperson for the Universities UK collective said: “We welcome this news. The UK has repeatedly called for essay writing services to be made illegal, and we have worked with the government, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and other higher education bodies to fight against them. use.

They added, “Although the use of essay mills by students is rare, all universities have codes of conduct that provide for severe penalties for students who submit work that is not their own. “

A spokesperson for the National Union of Students said: “The NUS strongly opposes the editorial factories. These private companies are exploiting the vulnerabilities and insecurities of students to make money through exploitation, and never more than during the pandemic.

“The NUS has called on the government to take action against them in the past, and we hope they are finally listening. In the meantime, we urge universities to set up academic and pastoral support so that students never feel pressured to turn to test factories in the first place. “

This is just one of the new measures put in place as part of the post-16 education reform, along with other actions including changes in career counseling and support for apprenticeships, internships and other forms of technical education.

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