‘Essay mills’ to be subject to prosecution under new law

Richard Bruton
Richard Bruton

Firms that sell completed essays to Irish students will face prosecution under a new proposed law.

Education Minister Richard Bruton has proposed the measure as part of a wider bill strengthening the powers of the higher and further education regulator, QQI.

Mr Bruton said: “Today I am announcing plans to get tough and tackle academic cheating.

“I am proposing new powers to prosecute someone who provide or advertise essay mills or other services which would facilitate cheating. This is vital to ensuring an equal playing field for all our students.”

The other provisions of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Amendment) Bill include:

  • A Learner Protection Fund, which will support students to complete their studies if their college closes
  • An International Education Mark (IEM), awarded by QQI, will provide international students with confidence that their college or school is reputable
  • Establish the Institutes of Technology as Designated Awarding Bodies in line with the Universities
  • Powers to check a provider’s bona fides to ensure that it is fully equipped to provide a programme of education and training
  • Give QQI the power to ‘list’ awarding bodies and to include their qualifications in the National Framework of Qualifications to allow awards made by private, professional and non-national awarding bodies, where appropriate, in the Framework
  • Information sharing by QQI and other State bodies to ensure a coordinated approach to regulation of the sector
  • To strengthen and improve QQI’s approval processes for provider’s quality assurance procedures
  • To involve education and training providers more centrally in the application process for recognition of prior learning (RPL)