Ghostwriters doing homework
Updated: 2012-08-17 07:49
By Zheng Jinran and Luo Wangshu (China Daily)
Many high school students faced with piles of homework found a solution as their summer vacations are coming to an end - they are hiring ghostwriters, especially university students.
"It costs about 30 yuan ($4.7) to finish a set of assignments for a senior high school student," said a junior at China Agricultural University, who only gave his name as You. "We have a team of three members covering different subjects. So we're able to finish all their homework, whether it's math or English."
He said they stayed at the university during the summer holiday.
"We want to make some money. And helping high school students finish their assignments is an easy way. One of my friends earned about 4,000 yuan last year doing this."
But he refused to say how much he's getting from his side job.
"They give us their homework in face-to-face meetings, telling us details, such as what percentage of the questions should be correct and showing us their handwriting. And then we can finish it for them," he said, adding that teachers pay little attention to the assignments, so it's not difficult for them to fake them.
You and his classmates are part of the increasingly larger group of people who make money by doing homework for others. At least 40 ads stating clearly that they can help students finish their homework can be found at the Beijing education page of 58.com, a popular website for information sharing and items exchange.
In many other cities, ghostwriters can be found easily on the Internet as well. And a large discount will be given to the students if they organize themselves in groups of at least 10.
"Even if only two students come to me, the price will be reduced by 5 yuan each," You said.
A whole class at a middle high school in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, sought help from ghostwriters to nail down 200 pieces of Chinese writing assignments at a discount price of 8 yuan per piece, according to a report in Wuhan Morning Post on Thursday.
Some teachers and parents are aware of the scheme and know that it has been around for years. Some say that they understand the students, who are faced with pressure to finish multiple assignments and still have to prepare for exams.
Gan Xiaoying, a mother in Chongqing, asked her 15-year-old son to take an English class at a training center during the summer holiday. But she still wants him to seek overseas schooling.
"Most of their assignments repeat what they've learned, which rarely improves their knowledge, I guess. But I can't blame his teachers, because all the exercises target the gaokao (the national college entrance exam)," she said.
"So I'll send my son abroad to sharpen his abilities and to learn and research," she said.
Her son, who declined to be named, said that most of his classmates don't treat homework seriously and instead copy from each other.
"Teachers don't really care about it either. Most of our homework will be sold as used paper after being collected when the new semester begins," he said.
Xu Lei, a teacher from No 80 High School of Beijing said that he is aware of the ghostwriters.
"I believe that many teachers don't really care about vacation homework," he said.
But in many schools, students are still given numerous assignments during long holidays, including the summer vacation.
"I think they are afraid of students forgetting what they learned if they don't practice during the long holidays," said Zhang Ting, a Chinese language teacher at Beijing No 5 High School. "But I encourage my students to read books during the summer vacation. They have huge pressure at school, and they deserve a break."
She didn't give lots of homework to her students, "But no assignments at all is also not good for them. Teachers normally give homework based on the students' behavior and learning habits."
Contact the writers at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com