CoHE Takes Legal Action Over Paid Theses and Assignments

January 13, 2021

The Council of Higher Education (CoHE) filed a criminal complaint to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office about the suspects who prepared and asked for theses and assignments in exchange for money.

In the bill of complaint submitted to the Ankara Courthouse by CoHE lawyers, it was requested that a public suit be filed against the websites committing the crimes of aggravated fraud and assistance to crime by preparing theses or assignments in exchange for money and those who attempted to defraud universities by getting help from these websites.

The open addresses of the websites and social media accounts that were noted to have been preparing theses or assignments and helping people in online exams in exchange for money were included in the bill.

The representatives of consulting/thesis preparation offices, those who deceive public institutions by producing scientific works such as theses, graduation projects, and assignments by getting help from these places and those who will be identified as a result of the prosecution's investigation were asked to be punished for "fraud”, “aggravated fraud” and “assistance to crime".

It was also emphasized that theses, graduation projects and assignments for graduation, which are prepared in places such as thesis preparation offices operating under the name of consulting offices or with assistance from these places, would likely be used to get appointed to teaching positions.

The bill pointed out that the Turkish Penal Code had provisions for aggravated fraud, fraud and assistance to crime. It was also noted that the main perpetrators of the crime were those who prepared theses, graduation projects, and assignments, and that the consulting/thesis preparation offices, which were the subject of the application for complaint, would be partners in crime. In accordance with Article 39, 157 and 158 of the Turkish Penal Code, a public lawsuit was requested to be filed against the officials of the consulting/thesis preparation offices and those who deceived the public institutions by producing scientific works such as theses, graduation projects, and assignments.

- Besides the revocation of theses, the legislation also stipulates imprisonment and fines

According to the legislation, the studies of students who are confirmed to have their theses, assignments or graduation projects prepared can also be revoked. According to the Turkish Penal Code, those who commit fraud are stipulated to be sentenced to 1 to 5 years in prison and judicial fines, those who commit the crime of aggravated fraud to be sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison and judicial fines, and those who helped commit the crime are stipulated to be sentenced to half the punishment given to those who committed the crime.

- CoHE had warned universities about the security of exams

CoHE sent a correspondence about the security measures for exams to all universities in November last year, requesting universities to take measures for the security of remote and online exams.

It was pointed out in the correspondence that there had been various complaints about cheating in remote/online exams or students changing places with others for the exams. The correspondence also included the following statement: “It is extremely important that exam grades accurately reflect the real achievements of students as it is related to the trust placed in our higher education. In addition to all faculty members who teach at Turkish universities, administrators are also obliged to take all kinds of measures to ensure the security of the exams.”