Press Release Friday 16 May 2019

Ghostwriting must be taken seriously, says TEU

‘Cheating by university students paying ‘ghostwriters’ to write essays for them is totally unacceptable and requires a nationally co-ordinated response’, says the New Zealand Tertiary Education Union.TEU National President Michael Gilchrist says ‘Unfortunately the news that this problem is extensive and possibly growing is a further symptom of the continuing commercialisation of university education in New Zealand. It is a symptom of the reduced role this commercialisation allows for staff engagement with students and staff voice in assessment design and implementation.’‘We need to take this problem seriously and lift our game in this area. That means calling on the expertise of lecturers, tutors and student support staff across the country. They are the experts who can identify ways to:

  • Improve staff contact with students;
  • Support genuine student engagement;
  • Make it as difficult as possiblefor ghostwriting to go undetected; and,
  • Make it as difficult as possible for anyone using a ghostwriter to succeed in passing a course.

We would like to see a nationally co-ordinated response, including national guidelines developed in this area. We have written to Universities New Zealand asking them to meet with us to discuss ways of developing such a response.‘We must also look at the systemic pressures highlighted in the latest research into the State of the public tertiary education sector with regard to ongoing attacks on the profesional integrity of staff,’ says Gilchrist.The discovery of the extent of this problem is a challenge that we should not ignore – it is also an opportunity we should not miss. It is an opportunity to improve the quality and integrity of our university system by adopting strategies that go beyond treating students as customers and competing for their enrolment fees.That in turn will improve the standing of our university system, both here and overseas.Media contact:Michael Gilchrist, TEU National President, 0278994256Sharn Riggs, TEU National Secretary, 027 443 8768