Parece que en todos lados cuecen habas...
Tens of thousands of students in universities across Britain have been caught cheating in exams and coursework – and the trend is on the rise, according to a investigation by The Independent on Sunday.
Over the past three years, more than 45,000 students at 80 institutions have been hauled before college authorities and found guilty of "academic misconduct" ranging from bringing crib-sheets or mobile phones into exams to paying private firms to write essays for them.
Some 16,000 cases were recorded in the past year alone, as university chiefs spent millions on software to identify work reproduced from published material, or simply cut and pasted from the internet.
"It's only going to get worse," she said. "From next September we expect to see cheating incidents rise. The introduction of tuition fees will increase pressure and anxiety to get a good degree. They're all worried about their employment prospects."
University bosses blame the financial crisis for raising the stakes in higher education, making many students willing to do anything to secure good grades – or just to stay on their degree courses. A number of experts claim that Tony Blair's flagship policy of increasing access to higher education has left thousands of young people starting university without all the practical and intellectual skills required.
Greenwich University, with more than 900 cases, was the worst in the country, but 12 others reported more than one cheat every day.
The high rate of cheating has also been blamed in part on the tens of thousands of international students who, Ms Byars said, "come from countries with different practices and cultures". Others said the recent huge increase in undergraduates meant there were many students at "new universities" who were not adequately prepared to complete degrees.
[...]"If a student who I know to be mediocre in class suddenly produces a brilliant essay, I will have them in for an oral examination to see whether they can reproduce that work. I'm not sure all universities do that. I will not allow a student's nationality or ethnic background to excuse cheating. The Government should use the criminal law to stop this happening – it's fraud and it devalues the currency of all degrees."
"However, successive governments are also partly to blame. Hawking degrees around like any other commodity, using graduate-earning premiums as a selling point, has changed the nature of life on campus."
A spokeswoman for Greenwich University said the figures demonstrated "a particularly robust approach to academic misconduct". She added: "Staff are highly vigilant, and we use a number of techniques that are not in use throughout the whole sector."
Increasingly, universities are taking a defensive stance – insisting it is complicated by a growing number of students who enter university unfamiliar with the correct procedures of citation or who do not have a good command of English.
Niall Hayes, a lecturer at Lancaster University Management School, said: "People come to us without experience of extended writing or formulating arguments and building on other's ideas. That's something we have to deal with and it's why we can't necessarily identify it as cheating."
Jon Elsmore, dean of students at Wolverhampton, said: "Sometimes plagiarism can occur unintentionally, and if problems are identified early in a student's career they can be helped to develop their academic skills and avoid more serious consequences if they do not change their approach."