Thu, Mar 28, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Ministry panned for lack of action on ghostwriters

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

Deputy Minister of Education Lin Teng-chiao, seated, yesterday reviews draft legal amendments at a meeting of the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The Ministry of Education has only taken action against one service that offers thesis ghostwriters, even though punishments for such a breach of academic integrity were introduced six years ago, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said yesterday.

Advertisements for illegal thesis writing services are “rampant” online, Kuan told lawmakers during a meeting of the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.

A Google search finds an “infinite number” of Web pages offering all kinds of writing services for master’s or doctoral theses, she said, adding that there are even apps for such services available for download.

According to Article 18 of the Degree Conferral Act (學位授予法), any attempt to attract or coerce a student to hire a ghostwriter to write their degree thesis or assignment would result in a fine of NT$300,000 to NT$1 million (US$9,723 to US$32,409), she said.

A separate fine would be imposed for each breach, she added.

“Given that each illegal advertisement could be fined at least NT$300,000, the Ministry of Education could have contributed a great deal of money to the Treasury,” she said.

However, the ministry has turned a blind eye to the law “as if it does not exist,” she added.

Since the penalties were introduced in May 2013, “the only advertisement that got fined was in 2014,” she said. “No wonder illegal advertisements are rampant.”

Hiring a ghostwriter to write a thesis is unethical, Deputy Minister of Education Lin Teng-chiao (林騰蛟) said, adding that he is unfamiliar with the ghostwriting phenomenon, but has heard about it.

“Since the ban is laid down in law, it should be executed,” he said, vowing to enhance enforcement of the law.

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