Punishing contract cheating for-profits

The Group of Eight wants different penalties for helping students cheat

The elite uni lobby backs the government’s bill to punish student academic misconduct, “a significant threat to community confidence in academic standards. Efforts to support community confidence in this regard are crucial.”

However, it suggests a nuanced approach to who gets pinged and how. In a submission on the bill the Go8 proposes making fee-for-service arrangements subject to criminal or civil penalties, while the latter only apply to services provided without charge. But the Go8 adds that a civil penalty is no slap on the wrist – being a maximum fine of $210 000.

The Go8 also wonders how the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency will run the intel operation the bill charges it with, to detect contract cheating commercial services.

“The extent to which TEQSA is likely to be the recipient of timely and valuable information that is of a comprehensive and substantial nature to enable an investigation or even a prosecution to be pursued are not at all clear. Indeed, the timeliness with which some other activities are managed by the higher education regulator, may indicate that prosecution is a less than realistic possibility.”

But whatever TEQSA does, the Eight do not want universities to pay for it, “the Go8 understands the activities outlined for TEQSA under the Bill are not to be cost-recovered which is welcome.” This is not least because the agency will “need to rely largely if not exclusively on information passed to its officers from within universities.”


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