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‘Chegging’ along? UCT, Wits reports increase in students’ virtual cheating

US technology company ‘Chegg’ that offers tutor services has become the reason behind mass cheating problems among students in South Africa.

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A company called Chegg has tripled their stock price during the pandemic by offering students a way to cheat through virtual studying which universities across South Africa have picked up as an issue. 

Forbes stated that Chegg has become a $12 billion company profiting from enabling students to cheat. 


Chegg has a database of 46 million textbook and exam problems and allows users to turn them in as their own, so basically to cheat. 

According to Forbes, Chegg is based in Santa Clara, California with the heart of its operation actually being in India, where the company employs more than 70 000 experts in advanced math, science, technology and engineering degrees. 

The experts work as freelancers and are online 24 hours a day, seven days a week and supply step-by-step answers to questions posted by subscribers. The company also offers other services for students, such as tools to create bibliographies, solve math problems and improve their writing. 

However, the most popular use of the app is Chegg Study, described by Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig as an “always-on tutor” that is “ready to help students with detailed answers to problems”. 


Both the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) have reported that students have been found cheating through Chegg. 

“The university had noted an increase in the number of cases of academic dishonesty – which included cheating on tests and exams – referred to the Legal Services & Secretariat department between 2019 and 2020,” said UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola to My Broadband.

“The university has found that in some of these cases, university test and/or exam questions were loaded to the Chegg website and answers were provided by industry experts and submitted by students as their own work,” he added. 

“The university became aware of some students used online resources and platforms to assist them in answering assessments contravening assessment requirements and university rules,” said Wits according to My Broadband.

“These matters have been duly processed in terms of the Rules for Student Discipline by the University’s Legal Office,” continued Wits statement. 


The company notes that cheating is a problem among students and this has increased since the pandemic led to virtual learning and they intend on addressing the issue, while universities also aim to deter students from “Chegging”. 

“We are not naive that [cheating] is a problem. And the mass move to remote learning has only increased it. We remain 100% committed to addressing it, and are investing considerable resources to do so,” said Chegg president Nathan Schultz in a written statement. 

“We cannot do it alone and are working with faculty and institutions, and will continue to do more, including educating students,” he added.