International launch of the Global Academic Integrity Network

QQI CEO, Padraig Walsh; Helen Gniel, Director, TEQSA Higher Education Integrity Unit and Mr Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science holding a Global Academic Integrity Network sign at the launch of the network in Croke Park.

A new consortium led by Irish and Australian education quality agencies is joining forces to fight the rise of commercial academic cheating services targeting students across the globe.

The Global Academic Integrity Network (GAIN), launched by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and Australia’s Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), is working with similar agencies around the world to stamp out commercial cheating operations which have flourished during recent years as online learning has become more prevalent.

Backed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), higher and further education regulatory agencies and other organisations with an interest in maintaining academic integrity are collaborating to protect the reputation and efficacy of national skills, qualifications, and education systems.

Quality assurance agencies and education providers are already working to inform students, staff and other stakeholders about the risks posed by cheating and to maintain cultures of academic integrity on-campus.

GAIN will share experiences and resources to help other jurisdictions develop legislation, regulatory approaches and frameworks that penalise facilitating and advertising of cheating services.

Other members of GAIN include the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, UK (QAA), The Office of the Lithuanian Ombudsperson for Academic Ethics and Procedures, New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), and the Higher Education Authority (Zambia).

Endorsing organisations include the Council of Europe and the European Network for Academic Integrity (ENAI).

Launching the network in Dublin, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD applauded achievements to date across the member countries but reiterated the need for a strong global alliance to accelerate progress.

“The global nature of commercial cheating requires a global solution. The launch today of the Global Academic Integrity Network is a major step in tackling online cheating operations whose damaging influence has no regard for geographical boundaries nor the academic well-being of learners, no matter where they live. We can only disrupt their business models by collaborating across borders and bringing together our collective expertise and best practice in this collaborative and innovative forum. I look forward to seeing the impact of this international alliance and encourage other countries and national agencies to sign up to the drive to protect the integrity of our education systems.”

TEQSA Chief Commissioner Peter Coaldrake applauded the work that has already occurred in Australia but reiterated the need for a strong alliance to further progress action.

 “While individual jurisdictions are taking enormous strides in combatting cheating, many of these large operations are international and working together will give us the best chance of breaking their business models. GAIN will share intelligence on cheating operators and insights to help different jurisdictions tighten their anti-cheating detection, laws and penalties.”

Dr Padraig Walsh, CEO of Quality and Qualifications Ireland said,

‘Ireland is proud to be at the forefront of this global effort to tackle online cheating services and protect academic integrity nationally and around the world. The Global Academic Integrity Network will build on important work already established in Ireland – from national legislative measures to tackle those who would facilitate cheating to the establishment of a national academic integrity network of higher education institutions sharing insights to better understand contract cheating and provide the tools to tackle the issue within their own settings.’

GAIN will also share best practice in anti-cheating resources and research to help educate students, lecturers and institutions about the integrity risks associated with these unethical practices and to keep abreast of emerging threats.

Find out more about the Global Academic Integrity Network here.