Connect with us

News

PayPal urged to block essay firm cheats

Published

on

The education secretary is calling on payments firms such as PayPal to block transactions for essay writing firms, in a bid to beat university cheats.

Damian Hinds says it is “unethical for these companies to profit from this dishonest business”.

He also suggests UK universities should consider US-style “honour codes” where students promise not to cheat.

A PayPal spokesman says an “internal review is already under way” into essay-writing services.

‘Unscrupulous’

Such firms might say they are offering legitimate help for students, but the higher education watchdog, the Quality Assurance Agency, has warned they can be “unscrupulous services that damage reputations and lives”.

“Companies that try to entice students to buy so-called plagiarism-free essays pose a real threat to the academic integrity of our higher education,” said Douglas Blackstock, head of the QAA.

“These unscrupulous operators, increasingly and falsely marketing themselves as providing legitimate study aids, must be stopped in their tracks.”

Mr Blackstock also warned of students being blackmailed by essay-writing firms, with demands for money under the threat of exposing the previous cheating.

The QAA wrote to PayPal in November calling on the firm “to close down the payment facilities for the essay-writing companies that encourage students to cheat”.

But the university standards watchdog says there has not been any indication of any change in policy.

A PayPal spokesman said: “We carefully review accounts that are flagged to us for possible violations of our policies, as well as UK laws and regulations.

“An internal review is already under way looking at the implications of essay writing services.

“We would be happy to talk to the Department of Education about their concerns.”

‘Black market’

The education secretary wants payment service companies to take action to stop such “essay mills” – and says their “corporate reputation” should matter to them.

He said the QAA identified 17,000 academic offences in 2016 – but it was impossible to know how many cases had gone undetected.

“Sadly there have always been some people who opt for the easy way and the internet has seen a black market in essay writing services spring up.”

Mr Hinds added that such firms are “exploiting young people and it is time to stamp them out”.

“I am determined to beat the cheats who threaten the integrity of our system and am calling on online giants, such as PayPal, to block payments or end the advertisement of these services – it is their moral duty to do so,” said Mr Hinds.

He also suggested that universities should adopt “honour codes”, in which students formally commit to not cheating, and also recognise the consequences facing students who are subsequently caught.

There has been research from the US showing that such honour codes can act as a deterrent and reduce levels of cheating.

Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, said: “Cheating should be tackled and the problem should not be allowed to fester any longer.

“Legislation is needed to outlaw this abominable practice, but this is a valuable first step.”

The education secretary’s call for a tougher line on essay writing services was backed by Chris Hale of Universities UK.

He said the university organisation wanted “essay mills to be made illegal and we continue to work together with government, the Quality Assurance Agency and other higher education bodies to tackle their use”.

Read this and more articles at BBC Sussex

Continue Reading
Advertisement

News

Brighton meningitis amputee 'can even drive car'

Published

on

A man who almost died from meningitis has revealed how he began to look forward to having his limbs amputated.

Mike Davies, 60, from Brighton, spent 70 days in intensive care with meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia.

During this time, he said he knew his hands and feet were “dead” and he would recover better without them.

Now he says he is in a positive place and “can even hold a pint of beer”.

With the help of prosthetic limbs, Mr Davies can drive a specially-adapted car and said he was living life to the full.

“My message to anyone who has amputations would be not to give up,” he said.

The illness struck on Christmas Eve in 2017 when he began to get “colder and colder”.

He said: “Climbing into bed didn’t help. I looked like a ghost with blue lips.”

His family insisted he went to Royal Sussex County Hospital.

In the early hours of Christmas Day, his wife Julie and son Rory were taken to a room and told he was unlikely to survive.

‘A lucky man’

“When they held my hand, I could not feel it. My hands and feet were dying,” he said.

During 10 weeks in hospital “on the edge of survival”, he knew his limbs had to go.

“I began to look forward to having my hands and feet amputated

“I was on a lot of medication and I was very accepting that they needed to go for me to make a recovery” he said.

He spent two and a half months at Queen Mary’s University Hospital, Roehampton, learning to walk on prosthetic legs.

Since then, he has “walked three miles”, can feed himself, using cutlery strapped to his arms, and can “even hold a pint of beer”.

“I feel in quite a positive place in my mind about the challenges I still have to overcome.

“Support from other people has been key. I am a lucky man,” he said.

Follow BBC South East on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram

Read this and more articles at BBC Sussex

Continue Reading

News

Kai Gasson jailed for Crawley street stabbing murder

Published

on

A teenager who stabbed a man to death in a street has been jailed for life.

Kai Gasson, 17, had denied the murder of Arnold Potter in Crawley but was convicted and ordered to serve at least 15 years.

Reporting restrictions were lifted at Lewes Crown Court so unemployed Gasson, who lived in Crawley, could be named.

Mr Potter, 24, died in Watson Close, Maidenbower, on 15 November after he was wounded in the torso with a lock knife.

After the hearing, Det Ch Insp Andy Richardson said Gasson “rightly” faced a minimum of 15 years behind bars after the jury rejected his claim that he acted in self-defence after a row about drugs.

“Had Gasson not been in possession of a knife that day, he would not have stabbed anyone and he would not now be facing a sentence,” he said.

“We must continue to educate people – particularly young people – that carrying offensive weapons in public is a serious offence which ruins lives.”

Gasson was also found guilty of possessing a knife and admitted possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

After the court case, a family tribute issued through police said Mr Potter was a caring, kind-hearted man who had been loved by many.

The family said: “Please educate your children about knife crime, as it impacts every member of your family.

“Life goes on, but life will never be the same again for us.”

Follow BBC South East on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram

Read this and more articles at BBC Sussex

Continue Reading

News

Child held near cliff edge at Seven Sisters prompts warning

Published

on

The National Trust has warned people to “act sensibly” after pictures emerged of a man holding a child inches from an unstable cliff edge.

The pair were pictured on Monday at Seven Sisters near Eastbourne, East Sussex.

In 2017, 50,000 tonnes of the cliff crumbled and fell to the beach below.

The following day a 23-year-old South Korean tourist fell to her death when she jumped in the air for a picture and lost her footing on the edge.

Others were also seen near the edge and the Trust spokeswoman said: “It isn’t safe to stand or sit on the cliff edge.

“The cliffs are unstable in places and there are undercuts in the chalk, which people may be unaware of from the top.

“We advise visitors to act sensibly.”

There are permanent signs in place warning people of the danger.

MP for Lewes Maria Caulfield said the warm weather made an “ideal time to visit the coast”. However, she said it was “disappointing and concerning” to see people on the edge or “dangling children on the edge”.

“We know how dangerous those cliff edges are. We know people have been injured, and we’ve had tragic loss of life in the past.”

Ms Caulfield said she will speak to local councils on how to tackle the safety issues in future.

Previously, some have criticised the signage for not standing out, and there have been calls for signs in foreign languages as tourism from the Far East increases.

Ms Caulfield said: “It’s a difficult balance… if you put too much fencing or signage you destroy the beauty of the place.

“But it’s clear, despite the efforts of the local councils, the signs that are there are not enough to deter people from going close to the cliff edge.”

Read this and more articles at BBC Sussex

Continue Reading

Popular

© 2019 The Crawley Comet | Privacy