The federal education minister has drafted new rules to stamp out cheating services offered to university students, including the possibility of jail time or a massive financial penalties.
Coalition minister Dan Tehan on Sunday announced that he proposed to make it illegal to provide or advertise cheating services, such as those that offer to take exams or write essays on behalf of customers.
The proposal would see offenders face up to two years imprisonment or a fine up to $210,000.
“If you write another person’s university essay that’s cheating and you’re ripping off other hard-working students and also undermining our world-class education system,” Tehan said.
“We will make contract cheating a crime sending a very clear message that cheats do not prosper under the Morrison government.”
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The draft legislation comes after recommendations from the Higher Education Standards Panel. Tehan’s office said that “a similar approach” was recently adopted by New Zealand.
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency will be authorised with investigating and enforcing legal action against cheating services. The agency may also seek court injunctions to immediately stop or block domestic and international websites.
The department of education and training stated that the proposed legislation is aimed at shutting down providers of cheating services, not the students themselves.
“Students who cheat will continue to be subject to institutions’ own academic integrity policies, processes and academic sanctions,” stated the department.
Feedback on the draft bill is sought by June 28.
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