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Blow for Kenyan academic writers as PayPal bans essay writing firms from its service

By Solomon Magawi | April 5th 2019
Silicon Valley-based payment processing giant PayPal has announced it will cut ties with "essay mills" amid fears they are undermining the integrity of degree courses. 

The move comes after the UK Education Secretary Damian Hinds challenged PayPal to cease processing transactions for such firms. His call came amidst reports that, in spite of ongoing efforts by both governments and universities globally, plagiarism cases are on the rise.

“It is unethical for these companies to profit from this dishonest business,” Mr. Hinds said.

PayPal will start contacting companies which rely on its payment system to sell academic papers online to notify them of its decision.

A spokesperson for the payment firm said that "PayPal is working with businesses associated with essay-writing services to ensure our platform is not used to facilitate deceptive and fraudulent practices in education."

"PayPal will continue to diligently review and take appropriate action on accounts found to facilitate cheating that undermines academic integrity."

Essay mills provide lazy students with tailored, unique pieces of work that cannot easily be detected by plagiarism software such as CopyScape and Turnitin. And PayPal is one of the main methods used by students to pay these “unscrupulous” companies to write essays, dissertations, and coursework on their behalf.

PayPal's latest move will not be a magic bullet. It is, however, a vital part of the broader package of measures to curb academic dishonesty.

The move could be a huge blow to many essay writers in Kenya as academic writing provides employment to most of the unemployed Kenyan youth.

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