The high unemployment in Kenya has prompted many young people to seek other ways of earning money. On Monday, 26th July, some young Kenyan graduates found themselves on the wrong side of United States law. This came after CBS Television aired an investigative story that exposed a multibillion academic racket in Kenya.
According to the report, a Kenyan identified as Debra Patta, had earned billions of dollars from academic writing. However, the US authorities said that this was ‘contract cheating’ and it posed a threat to the American society in that more individuals were graduating with no skills or knowledge as expected of them.
American students were paid an equivalent of between Ksh2,000 and Ksh5,000 per page and the account holders took 75 per cent of the pay. If the account holder is less experienced in writing, he hires a more experienced person. The hired writers end up getting paid between Ksh500 and Ksh1,200 for 275 words.
One of the Kenyan writers confessed to have studied for undergraduate and master’s degrees under a paid contract with an American student.
“I did his degree and right now I’m doing his master’s degree. He has also promised me that I am going to do his PhD,” the student explained.
Those that were interviewed said financial problems prompted them to indulge in the acts.
“I have been searching for work since I finished school and I have one degree but no real job. You can’t steal and so you have to find something to do for yourself. It’s not really something you would be proud to tell people that you help others to cheat,” one of the writers said.
The talented Kenyan writers revealed that they earn more than Ksh200,000 a month and at times their results are so good that the lecturers of the American students complain.
“There is one that I did and the student got 97 per cent. The teacher told the student that the performance did not look like his based on his past results. The student told me to lower my performance on the papers so that it looks fair and plausible,” the Kenyan said.