Home Editorial There are many “fake degree mills” in India

There are many “fake degree mills” in India

There are many “fake degree mills” in India

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Recently I have witnessed someone close to me going to jail for using a ‘fake degree’ to practice at one of the reputed hospitals. Such joys are not permanent, these fake degrees might give momentary benefits but in the long run one has to pay a price. With so much competition and unemployment in India, getting a job is a big deal. A person seeking a job with a fake degree not only defrauds the company he is working for, but he also de-frauds the general public, with a legit degree, by blocking their placement opportunities by forging papers.

In India, there are many “degree mills” found to provide illegitimate academic degrees, diplomas or PhDs. India has not adopted plenary authority or strict laws to regulate schools and the quality of an institution’s degree and prohibit them from issuing fake degrees. There was one big degree scam that shook many students, Manav Bharti University (MBU) in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh had sold as many as 36,000 degrees since it was founded in 2009, for prices ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 rupees (USD 1,362-4,085), an Indian government agency investigated this fraud. Of the 41,000 degrees issued by the university at that time, only 5,000 were found to be genuine. Manav Bharti University’s owners were arrested. The owner was a multi-millionaire before his arrest; he had sent his family to Australia. After some time, he got bail. The police now said they wanted the enforcement directorate to investigate. In the end, the buyers are the losers.

The internet has allowed an excessive proliferation of bogus universities, fake websites to back-up bogus certificates and fake degrees. These fake websites are to dupe innocent potential students into thinking they’re applying for a real university or to make people think they are studying on a distance learning course online for a degree or diploma. Those not “innocent” people spent money in buying fraudulent qualifications to deceive employers and when the employers checked their status on the fake website, the message was returned as ‘this person is a bonafide graduate.’

Therefore, it is pretty easy to get a fake degree. Fake degrees are a big and billion-dollar market. You buy a degree, even an MPhil or a PhD from deemed universities like Vinayaka Missions or Singhania. There are many universities in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar too. They present themselves as endorsed by the UGC. You pay the agent and he gets you a degree which is recorded in their books. So, if an embassy or a university or an employer verifies it, the result is positive. You can even get it verified from the MEA or MHRD via an agent. These fake universities are not authorized to conduct distance MSc or MBA or MPhil. The buyer does not know about it so they buy.

How many foreigners know about this rule? Hardly anybody. They sell degrees everywhere and recently Vinayaka sold MSc degrees to high-ranking officials of the Haryana govt. It took five years to register FIR against them and some of them have retired by now. The UGC has put notices on its website regarding it but how many of us know? Close to zero. There are two types of educational institutions, first government and second private. Government organizations work for the public and private organizations work for the intensification of profits. Most of these fake degree institutions are private or sanctioned for government grants.

If you see Vinayaka, Singhania, Periyar or MBU degrees, just move on. They all have UGC stamps all over them still fake. While people rarely check, faking a degree can backfire spectacularly with long-ranging consequences. Why go for a fake and risk your future when you can get a genuine degree from getting educated yourself? These days if procuring a fake degree is possible then getting caught is also hugely possible. What they all boil down to is lying. It’s vetted, now even more so. When you lie about something, you destroy your credibility. What you reveal is your lack of integrity.

Unfortunately, we lack stringent laws, in the case of a fake certificate the MNC in India just terminates the candidate because they don’t want to get into long judicial procedures and waste their time and money. There is no strict law for document fabrication. Nor is it a punishable offence, nor can a company spend on lawyer fees to punish a candidate for the fake experience of a fake degree. Legal Punishment is hardly some fine after conviction in court or some day’s jail.

Those fake degree racketeers hardly get caught because they keep their pally with local authorities and cops. Some of them get caught and get released on bail. The government allotted huge funds for education but there is hardly any effort in mentoring the scams and schemes.