On November 14th, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) invited senior leaders of Higher Education Institutions to the launch of the National Academic Integrity Network in Dublin, Ireland. Professor Michael Draper from the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law at Swansea provided expert opinion as a keynote speaker.
In July, President Michael D. Higgins signed into law a new bill, which provides a statutory basis for the criminal prosecution of those who facilitate cheating by learners, who advertise cheating services, and who publish advertisements for cheating.
The QQI acknowledged that Professor Draper had advised in connection with the drafting of the legislation. In acknowledgement of this, Professor Draper congratulated the QQI on their work and outcome, which has resulted in the first law of its kind in Western Europe, promoting ethical behaviour in education and directly challenging those that promote education fraud.
Speaking about the new law, Professor Draper said:
“Academic cheating using online ‘essay mills’ is posing a significant threat to the integrity of global higher education.
‘The new anti-cheating laws which came into effect in Ireland last week, making it illegal to provide or advertise cheating services or to publish ads promoting them, will change the conversation that Institutions have with their students and will enable legal action against the suppliers of essays and those that support them. Purchasing an essay is academic misconduct; it is also taking part in a criminal offence.
“Hopefully the UK will soon follow Ireland’s lead”.
In 2018, senior leaders in education in the UK wrote to the UK Government demanding that a law be introduced banning essay mills, citing research by Professor Michael Draper and Professor Phil Newton.
Professor Draper will continue advising on the matter and will present alongside Dr Deidre Stritch of the QQI at the Council of Europe in Prague later this month.