Education for sake

Education for sake. Adverts are common in Kiev

In a Kiev underground station my eye fell on this advertisement: ‘Order dissertation, essays and more. Fast and good quality.’

My thoughts returned to the long months that I was sweating over my final thesis. It was in the summer of 2008. I studied history. My parents had already started to complain, because after seven years of studying it was high time to finish university. A writer’s block and laziness had prevented me from starting. But I got going and in four months I wrote my thesis of ninety pages on the former Soviet-leader Michael Gorbachev. My friends were drinking beer in the park while I got through old newspapers in university libraries.

How convenient would it have been, if I could have delegated my work to someone else. Let me explain: In Ukraine and Russiathere are decicated businesses that write dissertations for you. For less than 150 euro’s you can get all the work done for you.

Common practice
Buying dissertations and other essays is a common practice in Ukraine and Russia. A friend of mine told me that he had his thesis done this way. ‘I had already started working when I had to write my thesis and I had no time to do it myself.’ He received his thesis only an hour before he had to defend it.

Official figures don’t exist, but based on the large number of companies that promote their services at the internet, the selling of theses is a flourishing business. And this can only mean that there is a market.

The companies that produce them promise that the work is done in one month. ‘It costs you 200 dollars. Half you pay in advance’, tells a tells a lady on the phone. Here office, Logos info which has several branches in Ukraine. It was the third hit on Google. I did not even tell her I wanted a thesis on Michael Gorbachev, but this turned out not to be a problem at all.

The masterminds who will spent weeks in books and archives for you are not so mysterious as they seem. ‘We have historians, law teachers and economists working for us’, write some companies on internet. ‘The work is being done by teachers’, confirms the lady on the phone. And adds: ‘Success is therefore guaranteed.’

‘It is a big problem in Ukraine’, says Nikolai Kozubra, professor of law at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. ‘Due to fake diplomas and bribed teachers Ukrainian education has devaluaded the last years.’ Kiev university ranks third on a list of best universities of the country. The ranking is nowadays the best guarantee for companies that a employee is well educated.

According to Kuzubra it is difficult to unmask the ‘felony’. ‘If a thesis I copied from the internet we can find out quite easy. But these office write tailor-made products, the work is unique and done by professionals.’ According to Kuzubra the government should fight the malpractices by forbidding these companies by law.

But the problem lies deeper. The once prestigious profession of teacher has devaluated since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The average salary of an Ukrainian or Russian teacher is about 300 dollar. They can’t hardly be blamed for spending their free time earning some extra dollars.

The companies I called all told me the thesis could not be delivered in English.

But maybe this is not so bad at all. There are many occasions I talk with about my thesis with pride. The thesis I wrote in the summer of 2008 was marked with an eight. After I received my diploma that I presented my teacher a bottle of Vodka, named Gorbatschow.