Summery, term paper, graduation paper or even thesis work is a product one can easily buy in Ukraine. Writing such papers is a good business, as there are many takers who do not want to spend time in libraries studying materials. The question is: does not such attitude fully nullify the very sense of education and who needs such "bogus" works? On the eve of session period ForUm tried to find answers.

To order is simple as that

First of all we decided to check whether it is really simple to order any of the above mentioned works and how much it costs. It was not difficult to find those, who offer such serves. The whole capital is covered with advertisements of the kind, and internet inquiry has showed five million results.

We called the first number we found. According to the legend we are students of a prestigious medical institute and need a term paper of 30-40 pages. Nice male voice immediately specified whether we are from Bogomolets medical institute and having received an answer informed us that "the work will cost about 340 hryvnais with guaranteed quality."

Then we took the next advertisement and complicated the task: now we want a graduation paper of 100 pages. "No problem. The paper will be ready in two weeks. Don't worry, the work will be done by an experienced professor. Come to discuss the details," said a female voice and informed that the "diploma" would cost us about 2500 hryvnais, not very expensive.

We did not stop on this and decided to order a thesis work. We called another firm and learned that it was also not a problem, though thesis work is a costly affair - 15 thousand dollars. "Payment is in parts. The work will take about two years, but if there is an emergency we can make it faster," a confident male voice informed.

He also added that the firm puts guarantees in writing. "We conclude a contract with a client, stipulating the cooperation conditions, including major force situations," he assured.

Supply comes from demand

After acquaintance with sellers we turned to buyers. We could not find lazy defenders of thesis: such biography facts are very well hidden. Students were more open, though refused to say full names and their educational institutes.

Oksana N., who graduated the economic faculty of a capital's university, told ForUm she used repeatedly the services of fee paid work writing. "I did not want to waste time, as all these works are a formality, without which professors will not put you a grade," she explained us her motives.

Student of a technical institute Oleh S. told us that our education system has many atavisms from the Soviet era, and certain subjects are simply useless. "Why to waste time for rewriting outdated texts? Nobody reads them, neither students nor professors," he said.

In her turn Victoria, who studied abroad, was surprised with out question. "What do you mean to buy from a firm? And where is a guarantee that the work is of high-quality? Do you have to read it out and verify then?" she asked. The girl has graduated Lublinski University and states that there are no firms doing such business in Poland.

Through the eyes of professors

Assistant professor of Lutsk University of journalism Natalia Denisuik confirmed that the problem of works for sale is not so all-around in Poland. "I went to Poland for internship, one year in a Warsaw university and one year in a Krakow university. I've never seen there advertisements of the kind hanging out around. But there are cases when a scientific work is bought," she said.

The professor says that the hocus-pocus with a bought paper will not work in Poland. The works are controlled for plagiarism very thoroughly there, and punishment for cheating can find you even after the graduation. "You can graduate and get your diploma, but if your work does not pass the control for plagiarism, the diploma will be cancelled."

"There is a special computer program, which check the work and can show where the text is taken from," Denisuik added.

What does legislation have to say?

We asked ourselves what punishment is provided for such commodity-money relations and addressed the Education Ministry of Ukraine. The Ministry responded that current legislation does not provide for any concrete regulations regarding control and punishment of students for "phony" papers, but if the academic board receives proofs of forgery of thesis works it may decided to deprive this person of his academic degree.

As for regular summary, term and graduation papers, the Ministry says it is the responsibility of the faculty leadership. It turns out that the main responsibility lies with professors, while sellers and buyer do not really violate the law. In other words, the problem exists, but at the same it does not.

What do powers that be think?

Head of the parliamentarian committee on education and science Maxim Lutskiy says to root out the problem the education system must be completely reformed.

"We do not worry about graduation papers and thesis works, as it is impossible to defend somebody else's work, and if the academic board finds plagiarism the work will be held invalid. But we must find a way to make students be interested in studying. May be we should introduce more narrow specialization, when apart from basic matters a student can choose subjects for studying himself. First we can try it as an experiment, and if it works to implement in the whole education system," the official told ForUm.

As for those, who prefer buying a ready paper, rather than writing themselves, such 'clients' must be forbidden to carry out academic and scientific activity for a long period, Lutskiy added. 

In his turn, deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs Taras Chornovil proposes to introduce regulations, providing for deprivation of diploma or academic degree and banning 'cheaters' from academic and scientific activity for a long period. "There is similar practice in the world. There were cases when people had to leave politics, science or medicine and could never come back. As for those who sell term and graduation papers or thesis works, such activity falls under articles on aiding and abetting, self-will and failure to exercise duties," he said.

For Our Ukraine MP Anatoly Hrytsenko, head of the parliamentary committee on national security and defense, "the works for sale" are a threat to the national security. "It is a matter of national security and protection of citizens' rights. When a person uses somebody else's ideas and writings, it must be considered as a theft, which is a crime. Western universities immediately say goodbye to students and professors, involved into such activity. In Ukraine we must apply the same practice," he said.

Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn disagrees with such severe methods. "Supply comes from demand, and education departments must encourage self-guided works among students and create such conditions, when a student will be happy to study. Hence, "works for sale" will become unclaimed," he said.

Bottom line...

It looks like everybody, including ordinary people and lawmakers, knows about the problem and understands that simple punishment will not change the situation. The education system and studying process need reforms in order to change attitude.

Somebody has to be the first to say "enough cheating". True, for the years of studying a person has to write and defend a great deal of works, which sometimes seem useless, but education and knowledge are not just a formality, but a possibility to work and earn.


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