Education Ministry powerless in preventing ghostwriting of PhD dissertations
VietNamNet Bridge - As demand is high, ghostwriting has become a source of income for many people. In the past, it was a part-time job which helped them earn extra money, but it is now a “racket” which can bring a stable income.


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Tran Dai Nghia street, the HUST area (the area where the Hanoi University of Science & Technology is located) and the photocopy shops near schools were well-known ‘thesis markets’ in Hanoi. People would come there to look for anything they wanted, from theses to dissertations in different fields, and articles to publish in scientific journals.

However, observers said online thesis markets are much busier nowadays. An ad found in one of the ‘markets’ says that VND40-100 million is required for one work. 

The service provider advertised that he has “close relations” with the members of scientific councils of some schools who can help them successfully defend theses.

Who are the ghostwriters? According to Dan Viet, they are not only university students and postgraduates who want to earn extra money to fund their study, but also professional ghostwriters. 

As demand is high, ghostwriting has become a source of income for many people. In the past, it was a part-time job which helped them earn extra money, but it is now a “racket” which can bring a stable income.

“The demand is high and if you need money, you can contact some groups of ghostwriters at the contact addresses shown on the internet and ask to join them,” a ghostwriter said.

Dan Viet’s reporters were admitted into three groups of ghostwriters just within a short time. It was easy to get the job: they just needed to email CVs with photos to the heads of the groups. 

However, the members of the group were not allowed to meet each other. They worked independently and contacted the heads of groups via emails. One of the group of reporters refused to write university theses because the service fee was low, and only accepted to write master’s theses.

Tuyet was the only ‘colleague’ that the reporters met. She was an accountant for a company in Hanoi. Ghostwriting university theses in accountancy or finance, she said, was as easy as falling off a log.

“Theoretical knowledge is the same. You just have to work on figures. I can make use of the data of my company and just need to make some fabrications,” she said.

The Ministry of Education and Training’s (MOET) head of University Education Department, Nguyen Thi Kim Phung, admitted that it is not easy to discover ghostwritten theses.

“It’s easy to discover cheating if students copy others’ academic works but is more difficult to prove ghostwriting,” she said.

Vu Duc Nghieu, vice president of the University of Social Sciences, also commented that it is more difficult to discover ghostwriting, so once violators are found, they must be punished heavily.


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