PETALING JAYA: Carousell is touted as an online community marketplace that lets you buy and sell “everything”: clothes, accessories, art, cars, houses – and, apparently, academic essays.
According to Channel NewsAsia, ghostwriting services are widely available on the Singapore-based marketing platform, with some providers asking for as much as S$1,000 (RM3,150) per essay depending on length, level of complexity and assignment deadline.
Such services cater to university students who require original work to get past plagiarism detection software such as Turnitin.
“Plagiarism checks like Turnitin can check if students have lifted information from the Internet, but not if we got it from a third-party service provider,” a former part-time student at a private university in Singapore told Channel NewsAsia.
The former student, who was known only as Mike, said he had commissioned two essays from an online service provider called Inkmypapers prior to his graduation two years ago.
According to the report, he paid about S$480 for each essay.
He told the daily that it was “totally impossible” for him to write quality essays himself as he had to juggle work, studies and family.
“I know there is a risk, but frankly speaking there is no way (the professors) could catch us,” he was quoted as saying.
The report said some providers cited years of experience helping students, while others appeared to be students themselves who were looking to earn some extra cash.
And they don’t appear to be shy about their services, with Inkmypaper advertising itself as “the most established essay writing service in Singapore”.
Inkmypaper’s founder told the daily that the provider had catered to more than 1,000 students since 2009, with most of its clients coming from private universities.
At most universities, students who are caught submitting work that is not their own are given harsh penalties, ranging from a fail grade for the assignment to suspension or expulsion from the course.
Mike said he would never “submit the essays wholesale”, adding that he would correspond with the providers and make changes wherever necessary.
“We all knew about it, but it was all really hush-hush and no one really talked about it.
“I think even the professors themselves know, but everyone just pretends it doesn’t happen,” he was quoted as saying.