I wrote this a couple of years back; thought it might be interesting to repost it for posterity. I don’t know if it’s still valid since I stopped using Facebook a while back, but the selling of university essays certainly does still happen. Also, my views on exams have changed somewhat since then, but here it is anyway:
Facebook is currently advertising a website called “ukessays.com”, which promises to write (for a fee) any essay that you might need for anything ranging from A-level to PhD. Furthermore, they promise to ensure that said essay will score either a 2:1 or a first, and even provide a guarantee of £5000 that the misdeed will go unnoticed.
This is a disgrace to the British education system.
It sends out a mess to the general public that those who can afford to pay for such help will do better in life, which is probably true – the more highly qualified you are, the more likely you are to find a high-salary job. However, this clearly disadvantages those who are either too honest to resort to cheating or those who can’t afford it in the first place. It surprises me that the incumbent Labour government, with its ‘Equal Opportunities For All Particularly The Working Classes Who Vote For Us’ dogma has not yet put an end to this hideous miscarriage of justice.
I have never cheated for any qualification thus far, and have no intention of doing so – but if I had, might I have found myself reading in Cambridge or Oxford, with the resultant prestige that such places bring? And my future career prospects may well have been brighter for doing so – but I suspect that I would be less well equiped to function in a high flying job.
Sadly however, I suspect that people do gain admission to such universities and pass them using such fraudulent techniques as described above – the website was trumpeting the fact that it had had over 20,000 customers over the past four years – and that by placing our faith in such easily manipulated qualifications, we are like the man who built his house on sand, dooming our civilisation to be run by clueless rich kids (and their parents).
Because, as far as I can see, it is the parents who tend to push their children along, making sure they do the very best possible using whatever means, fair or foul. The purpose? So that they can laud over how well their offspring is doing to other parents – in many cases, it is just a competition to get one up over parents’ peers.
In addition, it is socially irresponsible of Facebook to advertise such things; its main target audience is students, and by doing so is swiftening the corruption of educational standards nationwide. Given the high traffic the site encounters, there are a great many other ways in which they can make money. Such destructive behavior is inexcusable.
To halt this perversion of our once great British education system, the government must act, and act quickly – before it is too late.
We should see a return to the ‘gold standard’ of A-levels by making it harder to cheat – by shutting down such ominous websites and companies described above, by eliminating coursework, by making it harder and more prestigious to achieve top grades – we should reinstate public trust in our examination system.
Or who knows what might happen?