Fake degrees are rattling the foundation of Mumbai University, one of the oldest universities in India. Earlier this year a vendor was literally stationed outside of the campus supplying people with fake degrees. While shocking, that vendor was not the only one supplying the bogus certificates. Over the last three and a half school years, more than 900 fake MU degrees have been discovered through pre-employment verifications.
The most popular fake degree choices are Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Sciences and Masters of Management Studies. Every time the university discovers someone passing off a counterfeit degree they notify the police, but the university told local newspapers that there is no way to tell how many of these phony diplomas are never discovered because most companies don’t include education verification in their screening process. Each year they only get 3,500 to 4,000 verification requests, an extremely low number considering the hundreds of thousands of degrees they have conferred.
MU is not the only institution dealing with this problem. A report from New Delhi TV found 1 in every 3 lawyers in India is a fake. They describe a full third of the nations’ attorneys as possessing “fraudulent” law degrees or as being “non-practicing persons” who are degrading the profession.
We asked Vivek Khanna, Chair of the APAC Chapter of the National Association of Background Screeners (NAPBS), about this issue. He says that while American and multi-national employers insist on verifying their applicant’s education claims; most Indian companies have yet to adopt the practice.
“Fake education certificates and misrepresenting experience constitutes the largest area of concern for employers globally. While some employers have covered permanent talent acquisition, contract or temp professional services are still not covered. It is important for employers to have a robust policy and process to cover both employees and temp staff to ensure that they are being serviced by ethical sources. NAPBS members can help.”
Khanna also points out that education verification goes a lot farther than just confirming a degree. He says it’s a simple way to find out if the person you are thinking about hiring is honest and forthright.