A spat between the UK government, PayPal and Kenya freelancers has got everyone mixing up issues.
“Thousands of jobless graduates from Kenya who help lazy university students in developed countries to cheat academically could soon be forced to find something else to do after the UK government started clamping down on essay mills.
On Thursday, international digital money transfer service, PayPal, announced it was withdrawing its services to essay-writing firms selling to university students. This was after weeks of pressure from the UK government, which insists stopping payments for essay mills would go a long way in beating academic cheating.’ Daily Nation
There are 3 parts to this story.
First, the British Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, says when UK students tap cheap labor in Kenya for their assignments, it is unethical and cheating. 46 university vice chancellors last year wrote to Hinds, calling for the banning of cheating websites.
Secondly, PayPal is caught up in the wrangles for facilitating online payments between UK students and Kenyan freelancers. PayPal has come under pressure to stop processing these payments and declared it will not support unethical academic behaviour by UK graduates. Some people have suggested, cryptocurrency may serve well as an alternative for Kenyan freelancers.
Finally, in Kenya, we are all caught up debating whether it is cheating or job creation, as thousands of graduates are dependent on the thriving business for wages and employment.
This case is a glimpse of tectonic shifts at play on the future of Africa, its youth population and the web economy. It is easy to miss the forest for the trees.
To get at the heart of the matter, we need to go back to 2009 when it all began.