Uni assignments, homework, and exams can get overwhelming. Sometimes you may need your smart friend to help you get through it all in exchange for a quick payday or a nice lunch at the unibar.
Well sorry to be the bearer of bad news but you’re going to have to do your assignments all on your own because having a mate helping you out (or vice versa) could soon be a jailable offence in Australia.
The ABC reports that the Federal Government is planning to outlaw a practice known as “contract cheating”, where students get others to complete their assignments and/or sit exams for them in exchange for a fee.
Students be found guilty under this proposed law could cop a fine up to $210,000 or face up to two years in jail, which is a pretty steep price to pay for a high distinction.
The idea is pretty ridiculous as an elevator pitch as it is but experts are worried that the wording in this proposed bill is too broad and overstepping the line.
Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson and Associate Professor Phillip Dawson from Deakin University’s Centre For Research In Assessment And Digital Learning both stated that the bill’s wording was too vague and needed some serious rework.
Jackson says that “There’s a phrase [in the bill] describing prohibiting the provision of “any part of a piece of work or assignment” that a student’s required to complete,” and the broadness of this phrase could mean something as innocent as a parent proofreading an essay and giving notes might be deemed as illegal.
Dawson is on the same page, saying “If a student passes a note to another student in an exam or an older sibling offers to do the stats for their younger sibling’s assignment, that shouldn’t be a crime.”
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan is doubling down on this bill for what it’s worth, saying that he “provided the draft legislation in April” and will ‘take feedback into account when finalising the bill”.
There are obviously more holes in this proposed anti-cheating bill than a wheel of Swiss cheese but these could be stamped out before Tehan expects to “introduce it to Parliament this year.”
Anti-cheating isn’t necessarily a bad idea but Tehan might be overstretching here. Beyond the fustercluck in trying to police this whole thing, it’ll take away that wholesome uni experience of panicking over an assignment with your classmates.
So best start hitting the books because you’re gonna have to earn that pass on your own. But you know what they say, “Ps equal degrees”!