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Outsourcing, of course!

Competition is good, and so is globalisation. Some British students, it seems, haven?t needed a course in liberal economics to learn this.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 01:41 IST

Competition is good, and so is globalisation. Some British students, it seems, haven’t needed a course in liberal economics to learn this. A study by researchers at the University of Central England, Birmingham, has found 236 students outsourcing their coursework — or, as the study terms it, indulging in ‘contract cheating’. In an improvement over the fairly well-established practice of buying essays via websites, these students have been assigning tasks to lowest bidders from around the world. All through perfectly legit websites used by businesses to outsource freelance work.

This innovation has reduced costs tremendously — from around £ 50 for an essay from a ‘usual’ site to as low as £ 5. The British, with their egalitarian ethic, will undoubtedly appreciate how this has levelled the playing field — getting away with laziness is no longer the exclusive preserve of the well-heeled. Expectedly, a sizeable part of this work is finding its way to India. We are, as Thomas Friedman fondly professes, particularly well-placed to handle outsourcing. In this case, in addition to our English-language skills and the opportune time difference, we can boast of a strictly amoral stance towards the issue — not for us any eyebrow-raising over ‘contract cheating’; we’ve lived with it for ages. Admittedly, unlike call centres, this business is only viable for the academically inclined. But there should be no dearth of willing insourcers once you show them the money.

So, with both the demand and supply sides looking good, ‘contract cheating’ may soon make up a sizeable chunk of India’s foreign trade. Perhaps the government could give it the status of a small-scale industry?