Doing Western students’ homework is big business in Kenya

Halima Gikandi:

It was 5 p.m. on a Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya, and the streets were crowded with people rushing to get home for dinner. But Philemon, a 25-year-old science researcher, was just getting ready for his second job as an academic writer.

Philemon is part of the global industry of contract cheating in which students around the world use websites to commission their homework assignments. He asked that his full name not be used for privacy reasons due to the sensitive nature of his work.

Service providers like Philemon don’t like to call it “cheating” — they prefer the terms “academic writer” and “online tutor.”

“My clients have been coming from various regions in the world,” Philemon said. “I have worked for a client in Australia, in the US. In Kenya? Very rare.”

Philemon began academic writing in 2017 when he was a university student seeking a flexible part-time job. Today, Philemon can make as much as $1,000 a month — as long as he gets good grades for his clients.