Whose work is it anyway? Exploring the existence of contract cheating in the UAE context
Academic integrity is the foundation upon which the academic sector stands. Contract cheating, a form of academic dishonesty where students get assessments written by others, has taken on a darker turn with the ease of use and over-reliance on technology. To the best of the researchers' knowledge, no studies so far have looked at the student population and trends in contract cheating in the UAE (United Arab Emirates), a country whose education sector has been booming in recent years. Therefore, it is imperative to explore and understand the contract cheating phenomenon in the UAE. For this preliminary study, focus group interviews were conducted with undergraduate students. The results indicated that 95% of students were aware of contract cheating, 91% aware of others receiving substantial, unpermitted help, and 77% were aware of others turning in work done by others. These findings document the first records of student-reported incidences and establish the existence of contract cheating in the UAE. With this knowledge, the paper paves the way for a comprehensive future study with a larger dataset of instances in the UAE.