Kathmandu, Nepal – With fall semester right around the corner, students around the country are beginning to heave a collective sigh. The lectures they will be sleeping through, the theories they just didn’t get and the ideologies they simply couldn’t comprehend will demand term papers and presentations, all with colliding due dates.
Usually, one would set the dial to beast mode and fall back on chugging Red Bulls to pull a series of all-nighters. But lack of sleep tends to discourage your best work. So what’s a harried young scholar to do? If you’re an underclassmen, you might beg a studious upperclassmen to help you with your papers in exchange for a few cases of beer.
But, alas, that would run afoul of the student handbook. It looks like your only option is Assignmate – the new app that allows you to hire a tutor to help with your assignments.
Following the model of a sharing economy, Assignmate allows those seeking help with an assignment to post a headline tag – say, ($85) Philosophy paper on Denis Diderot and the French Enlightenment – and receive applications from smarty pants freelancers meticulously vetted by the company who may already know a thing or two about your subject.
Now maybe you’re asking yourself: Wait, isn’t this like the ‘C’ word, ch-, ch-, ch-ch-chea…?
“We’re not condoning cheating, but we do think that students can use the app to attain better grades,” says CEO and founder Kushal Ghimire. “Some universities already offer tutoring services, we are just putting it online and making it accessible right through your smartphones.”
Ghimire, native to Nepal, founded his app company after attending University in United States and noticing how different the grading system was compared with his prior experience. “In Asia, we have these strict tests that pretty much are the only thing that matters for your grades. In US, however, there are papers and other activities that count for a lot of the final grade,” he said. “Those with money in the US pay for private tutors and get them to pretty much do their assignments for them, while students with less money are struggling to keep up.”
Ghimire thinks it also greatly benefits the “tutors,” – those who help students write their papers, do their research or draft their power points. “In college, money is tight, for some anyways. So making some extra cash for doing what you are supposed to be doing is never a bad idea. You make lunch money and learn a thing or two.”
The app interface is radically simple. You can anonymously draft your assignment in the app with nothing but your user ID. Additionally, if you upload the assignment document from your class, there’s a feature that allows you to black out any personal information (class name, professor, room number) that might injure your anonymity. Those doing the hiring can rate respective tutors in order to keep the quality up to par.
“To be entirely honest, I came up with this idea because I have done it myself,” Ghimire says in his signature brashness. “It’s easy money. I was a business major, but I have done papers on everything from literature to forensic anthropology. All you really need is some time and a hold of APA and MLA formats.”
So, what about the future of the company? Ghimire says, “ Imagine a world where machines can write a paper in APA format. We are experimenting with AI to make this a reality. ”
For now, Kushal and his team in Kathmandu are bracing for feedback from the first class of users and hoping to help a lot of sleepy students make the grade.