Kenya’s booming Academic writing industry exposed by America’s CBS Television

A man typing on his laptop. [Photo: Courtesy]

An investigative report by America’s CBC Television on a multimillion academic writing industry in Kenya has shocked the world.

The report dubbed ‘contract cheating’ lifted the lid on how Kenyan graduates make millions of shillings by completing essays and other assignments on behalf of American students who willingly pay top dollar for the services.

Debra Patta covered the report and equated it to ‘cheating’ after speaking to several Kenyan writers.

Back in Kenya, the contracted writers are usually given login details to various student portals of the American learners.

The logins give them access to many amenities in the specific campus an American student is in. They access the campus library and handle tests for their clients with raising a red flag to the administration.

One of the Kenyan writers told CBS in an interview that he has done academic writing for years now after graduating and failing to secure a job.

He has worked for many students back in the US, some pursuing their undergraduate degrees while others pursue their master’s degrees.

The Kenyan said this is a profitable business, and he is happy that he found something to do after a phase of financial constraints.

“You can’t steal and so you have to find something to do for yourself. It is not really something you would be proud of to tell people that you help others cheat,” he said.

He makes highs of at least Ksh200,000 every month from academic writing.

The Kenyans in this business are good in what they that their clients’ post sterling results back in the US.

Experienced Kenyan writers have accounts where they bid for the jobs and subcontract less experienced writers for lower pay.

The American students pay between Ksh2,000 and Ksh5,000 per page. But account holders take about a 75 percent cut on the pay, paying their writers between Ksh500 and Ksh1200 per page, which is 275 words.

At some point, they feel like it will raise suspicion due to the high level of excellence.

“There is one that I did, and the student got 97 percent, and the teacher told the student that the performance did not look like his based on past results of the student. The student told me to lower my performance on the papers so that it looks fair and plausible that I did it,” the writer noted. 

CBS termed this an act of “cheating” in as much as it was a booming business in Kenya.

The American TV station embarked on a probe following complaints by US authorities and scholars.

It drew mixed reactions from most Kenyan youth – mostly graduates – who rely on this writing to eke a living.