Thesis plagiarism has become a mass phenomenon in Moldova
Material provided by Ziarul de Gardă
Thesis papers, offered on a by-order basis, have become a mainstream business in the Republic of Moldova. Many offers and related information can easily be found on the internet. Although plagiarism and the selling of theses is prohibited by law, none of the legal institutions take measures and investigate this phenomenon to identify the individuals behind this controversial and illegal business.
The internet is literally teeming with ads offering commissioned thesis papers in all majors, including ready-made works, Licenciature dissertations or magisterial theses etc. The price and work submission timeframe change from one order to another. According to the ‘sellers’, those are highly experienced people, who have no lack of clients.
Theses prices starting at EUR 150
It’s very easy to order a thesis. You just click on Google search and dozens of offers will immediately pop up, from which you can choose exactly what you need. ‘Sellers’ usually publish their phone numbers, e-mail addresses and Skype-logins on the internet. In certain cases you will be required to fill out an application form, providing personal data and information on a thesis topic of your interest. Then you will get a response to your application by e-mail in less than 5 minutes. The response letter will contain information on costs and time in which the work can be done. If the conditions suit you, you just need to confirm the order by phone and pay 25% of the set amount. Afterwards you don’t have to worry about your thesis paper. First a work plan is drafted which can be adjusted if that’s required by a thesis supervisor. Afterwards, the paper is written in full and a student just has to learn and defend it before the commission. In fact, plagiarism is a rather simple procedure in the Republic of Moldova.
If done in the usual way, the annual thesis paper price starts from EUR 150 and the work is completed in 10 days. Licenciature dissertation is usually done in two weeks and it amounts to EUR 200, while a magisterial thesis can be done in 30 days and its cost ranges from EUR 250 and higher. A thesis paper can be done expeditiously, in 1-4 days, and the price will consequently increase depending on the order.
Everything is done ‘legally’
‘Sellers’ pledge to ensure confidentiality. They even offer contracts that ‘guarantees’ uniqueness of the submitted work, providing anti-plagiarism mechanisms and setting a timeframe for executing the order and the amount of advance payment. The young lady who accepts the orders, assures that everything is legal and that even her passport data are included in a receipt. She claims that a client’s name is unknown even to the person who writes the thesis, while confidentiality is a strong side of the deal.
All the subsequent changes that need to be introduced to the paper upon its presentation to the supervisor are done free of charge. Those who are engaged in thesis writing are usually former lecturers, who have turned into commissioned thesis writers.
Ex-graduate sells her thesis paper
A Former graduate and now an English language teacher and translator defended her Licenciature dissertation in 2010 and her magisterial thesis in 2012. She scored the highest in both of them. Now, she sells her thesis paper for EUR 150. As she puts it, it is to help those who fail to write a thesis themselves. She assures them that the work is excellent, arguing that it scored 10 points. At the same time, she claims that she could make some changes if the latter is required by a thesis supervisor, though she is sure that there is not a single mistake in it.
The ‘seller’ also assures her ‘clients’ that all lecturers, who used to be commission members in 2010, had resigned a long time ago and no one could recognize her work, especially as too many theses have been presented since that time and they tend to be forgotten as time goes by. Trying to convince us to buy her thesis, she says that her former graduation work, which has already been defended and granted a high score, is the best purchasing option, whereas a commissioned thesis can’t guarantee one a good score.
Buying a thesis will hardly make you a professional
Ilia Katerinyuk, Dr. Habil., Associate professor and the Head of Descriptive Anatomy Department at Chișinău-based Nicolae Testemițanu State University of Medicine and Pharmacy, argues that future medics who have paid for their thesis papers could hardly become good doctors in the true sense of the word. “This doesn’t work at the Anatomy Department. All students working on their theses are required to engage in practical work on anatomical materials and in this case it’s impossible to copy pictures from somewhere. We could see their true worth during the defense of the thesis. Let me stress one thing: buying theses won’t work in medicine,” he stated.
Yakim Gumenyuk, a PhD holder, Associate Professor and the Head of the Forest Management Department at the Moldovan Agrarian University, claims that students who are unwilling to work choose the easiest way – they buy a thesis paper. “Buying a thesis, be it a licenciature or a magisterial one, leads to a student’s intellectual stagnation and affects his/her professional future. As a teacher and chair of the department, I can easily tell which of them wrote the thesis independently and who has paid for it. Having worked with students for 4 years, I already know their capacity and can see what each of them will bring at the end. And a student who comes to defend his degree with a paid-for thesis can’t be referred to as an expert, he is a man with diploma, but not an expert. In addition, there is also the anti-plagiarism system, through which all the work passes. They will not be qualified for defense, until there is a signature of a person in charge,” says the professor.
Thesis sale – an illegal activity
Denis Dobrioglo, a lawyer, claims that selling theses is an illegal business activity and that individuals involved in it may be held liable.
“Those, who are engaged in the act of selling theses may face administrative liability penalties, in this case, a fine amounting to approximately MDL 700. Individuals (or, to be more precise, students), who pay for a thesis paper, may be accused of plagiarism, i.e. the matter concerns violation of the right to intellectual property. In this case, a thesis will be declared void, equally as a person’s merits acquired therefrom,” said the lawyer.
What does the Education Ministry say?
The Education Ministry claims that university autonomy is closely linked to public responsibility. The University Ethics and Management Council has been set up at the Education Ministry in order to prevent plagiarism and falsehood phenomena in the students’ works. The Council is expected to reveal violations, to probe into them and suggest to the government some particular sanctions (either reduction funding or temporary defunding, reorganization and abolition of educational institution).
Also, according to the Education Ministry, anti-plagiarism software has been purchased to prevent plagiarism at the universities. Special rules have been adopted to prevent plagiarism among students, to assess students during exam sessions using IT-technologies, to conduct random checks of licenciature or magisterial theses. The students, in turn, are required to sign letters of responsibility.
The Education Ministry admits that thesis-buying and plagiarism seriously affect the quality of education.
According to the Education Ministry’s statistics, 23,260 people graduated from universities in 2015. Nobody knows how many of them graduated from higher education institutions thanks to the commissioned thesis papers.
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