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Readymade theses: Are degrees more important than education?

  • Published at 01:04 pm September 18th, 2018
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Advertisement of readymade thesis papers, term papers, field work report in front of a shop of Bakushah Market in Nilkhet Bangla Tribune

Many students have turned to buying their research papers and submitting them in their name

To get their degrees from universities, students are required to submit: term papers, theses, monographs, and field work reports. Many courses award marks to students for these types of mandatory academic activities and they are essential to achieve a passing grade.

An independent investigation has revealed that many students are buying their research papers from the Nilkhet area of Dhaka, and submitting them in their name. 

Teachers, who are grading these students, rarely verify the authenticity of the material submitted. Many students have obtained their university degrees by employing such immoral tactics.

There are also allegations that some teachers actively encourage students to submit a readymade thesis. 

Instant theses at a cheap price

An investigation conducted in the Bakushah Market, at the beginning of September this year, revealed that different photocopy and computer service shops are selling research papers on various subjects. 

Some of these shops boldly advertise, “University theses, monographs, field work reports available here.”

These academic papers are being printed and sold for around Tk200-400. Nilkhet’s shopkeepers make a hefty profit from a huge crowd of students, as soon as the season for thesis submission hits the universities.

Speaking to the correspondent, a number of shopkeepers in Bakushah Market revealed that students from Dhaka University (DU), Jagannath University (JnU), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka College, and seven colleges under DU regularly buy readymade term papers, theses, and monographs at Nilkhet. 

Most students of the: social science, law, business studies and science faculties are required to submit the above-mentioned papers to their respective departments.

A shopkeeper of “Ma Computer” was seen handing over two copies of the same term paper to two students. The correspondent managed to take photos of a few pages of the readymade term papers.

The names printed on these papers revealed the names of two masters-level students of Dhaka College’s sociology department. 

The term paper is titled “Government and Non-Government Initiatives for Poverty Alleviation in Bangladesh,” and the students’ supervisor is Dhaka College Assistant Professor Dr Mohammad Dillur Rahman. September 3 was the deadline for submitting this term paper.

When asked how they will be graded after submitting their readymade thesis, one student said: “We have done this before, this is not an issue.”

Sample list of Bangla term papers and reports in a shop in Nilkhet | Bangla Tribune

The other one said: “Our teachers do not scrutinize our papers thoroughly. They only check weather their names are on it or not. The batches before us also passed this way.”

When asked for comment, Dr Dillur Rahman admitted that most students are involved in such immoral academic practices, saying: “These students do not attend classes regularly. They only appear for exams, and submit their term paper just before the tests.”

“We cannot just fail them. During oral exams, we question them about the topic of their submitted term papers. If they can answer our questions correctly, we allow them to pass.”

Adding that teachers grade students based on content, not authenticity, Dr Dillur said: “We are unable to check whether the term papers submitted by our students are bought from Nilkhet. We only check if the subject is correct and the students know about the topic.”

Commenting on the issue, Principal of Dhaka College Professor Moazzem Hossain Molla firmly denied that teachers are grading students despite the submission of readymade term papers.

“I do not know where these practices are being allowed, but Dhaka College is not supposed to allow this. Our teachers thoroughly check academic papers submitted by students for authenticity. If anyone found involved in this malpractice, we will take action against them.”

Selecting a thesis from a catalogue

A shopkeeper of Ma Computer, on condition of anonymity, told the undercover correspondent that they have copies of around 4,000 thesis subjects.

Then the shopkeeper gave the correspondent a large hardcover catalogue, saying: “Pick the thesis you need from this catalogue, we will print the paper, immediately, with your name on it.”

There are dozens of shops like this one in Bakushah Market, which sells readymade academic papers to students at a set price.

A shopkeeper of Moon Photocopy, preferring to remain anonymous, said: “We and many other shops in the market, sell theses, monographs, and term papers. Most of our customers are students from Dhaka College, Eden College and Dhaka University.”

When asked about the source of their research paper database, the shopkeeper declined to comment.

Further investigation revealed that these shopkeepers save copies of all academic papers to their computers—when teachers or students visit their shops for composition or printing services.

These shopkeepers then print and sell those academic papers for a hefty profit.

The correspondent also found several Eden College students visiting a shop that provides photocopy services in the market.

When approached for comment, they revealed themselves to be honours final year students of the zoology department, and they all are submitting the same thesis.

Asking not to be named, a marketing department student of Eden College complained: “The teachers indirectly urge us to collect readymade copies of our theses from Nilkhet, so that they don’t have to put in too much effort to check them.

“What are we supposed to do? We could have learned how to conduct research ourselves, if the teachers had taken the effort to teach us. But this is not the case.”

The student however declined to name teachers who are indirectly urging students to submit readymade copies of their theses, saying: “Nearly all of them are involved in this practice. But some of them have already retired.”

‘Not enough manpower for evaluation’

Associate professor of Eden College’s marketing department, Abdul Kader, told the correspondent: “We do not have the required number of teachers and manpower to properly evaluate theses and term papers submitted by the students.

“One teacher supervises a group of 25-30 students. So, some students could take advantage of the situation, and submit readymade theses for evaluation. However, we always make a serious effort to prevent such malpractice.”

Professor Kader firmly denied the allegation that some teachers are urging students to collect readymade theses from shops in Nilkhet.

Addressing the issue, Emeritus Professor of Dhaka University, AF Serajul Islam Chowdhury said: “Education has been transformed into a business, which results in the availability of: university degrees, certificates, term papers, field work, theses, and monographs on the retail market.

“This immoral practice of buying academic papers from shops is eroding the creativity of these students.”

Adding that only the teachers can prevent such malpractice, Prof Serajul pointed out: “Without direct or indirect support from the teachers, students cannot get away with submitting readymade theses. 

“The teachers are far more responsible for this malpractice than these students.”

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