Embassy website removes link to essay writing firm

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News from timeshighereducation

Students browsing the website of the Australian High Commission in New Delhi for information on education may have found themselves redirected to a US-based company offering to write their essays for as little as $12 (£10.20) a page.

Two embassy web pages outlining the Australian Education Department’s activities in the subcontinent featured a link for people seeking “more information”.

But the link took browsers to a blog on the website of Pro Essay Writer in Reno, Nevada. The company, which describes itself as “a team…not a person”, offers services including the writing of dissertations, term papers, case studies, lab reports, speeches and books.

The company also claims to produce research papers, capstone projects and application letters. Prices range from $12 a page for high school students to $24 for doctoral candidates, provided that they order their assignments two weeks in advance. Clients wanting turnaround in three hours pay more than double price.

Times Higher Education asked the company why a link to its services existed on an Australian embassy website. It referred THE to its email support line and did not respond to subsequent enquiries.

THE asked the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade whether it knew about the link and if the link had been authorised. The department was “not able to provide a time frame for a response”.

However, the web pages sporting the link have since been removed from the embassy’s website. At the time of publication of this story, a link to the company could still be accessed via the web address www.australiaindiaeducation.com.

A 2021 investigation by US researchers revealed that almost 300 US and Australian university websites had been infiltrated by more than a dozen prominent essay mills.

Australian academic integrity expert Cath Ellis said it was “obviously attractive” to such firms to “do whatever they can to give an impression that their services are somehow approved under the auspices of official organisations [such as] publicly funded institutions but also things like diplomatic missions in embassies”.

Professor Ellis, associate dean of education in UNSW Sydney’s Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture, added: “Whether it’s our own institutional websites, or whether it’s a diplomatic website like these ones appear to be, it’s our responsibility to check that the links we’re sending to third-party organisations remain solid and secure.”

john.ross@timeshighereducation.com



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