Enhancing academic integrity in higher education in Sri Lanka: Contract cheating and beyond

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)


Academic integrity, a fundamental aspect of higher education, encompasses essential values like fairness, honesty, trust, respect, and responsibility. Currently, academic integrity is challenged by the emergence of take-home assessments and the rapid advancement of information and communication technologies. While offenses such as plagiarism, copying, and impersonating have been identified by Sri Lankan universities by their examination by-laws, they have struggled to effectively address newer phenomena such as contract cheating and AIgiarism (a new term used for describing plagiarism through submitting assessment written by AI). That is because contract cheating and AIgiarism have not been recognised as illegal yet and it is hard to trace whether a paper is ghost-written or AI-written. It is observed that in Sri Lanka, a considerable number of online advertisements on websites and social media platforms offer contract cheating services, essentially selling essays, theses, or assignments to students. Given this context, based on desk research, the paper strongly argues in favour of prohibiting contract cheating. Currently, a limited number of countries, primarily located in the global north, have embraced this approach, with notable examples including the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. For instance, in Australia, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Amendment (Prohibiting Cheating Services) Act, No. 78 of 2020 imposes both civil and criminal liabilities on academic cheating services. The Act empowers TEQSA as the regulatory authority for higher education to actively gather information, conduct research, and take action to prevent access to online sources of contract cheating. Aligning with this framework, the paper proposes enacting a similar Act in which contract cheating is deemed an offense. It suggests assigning powers akin to TEQSA to the University Grant Commission (UGC), enabling UGC to address the issue effectively. Additionally, this paper emphasizes the importance of formally addressing the relevance and applicability of large language AI models such as ChatGPT in the context of higher education for which there is no global solution yet.

Keywords: Academic integrity, Contract cheating, Algiarism
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventInternational Research Conference, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo - University of Colombo, Colombo , Sri Lanka
Duration: 9 Dec 202310 Dec 2023


ConferenceInternational Research Conference, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo
Country/TerritorySri Lanka

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