[photopress:mba_fake_degrees.jpg,full,alignright]First a confession. The writer was expelled from school. There is some debate as to whether he obtained passes in the General Certificate of Education as he was not allowed to collect anything. Does non-delivery count as failure? He thinks not.
That was then.
Now he has a doctorate in communications, Summa Cum Laude, from the Central New England College of Technology (which truly existed but sadly closed down a few years ago) and he has the sheepskin and all those other good things to prove it.
The date at which it was presented coincides with a period of his life when pinning down exactly what he was doing, where and with whom is something of a mystery. And will remain so.
In future I would like the honorific Doctor before all correspondence. Is that too much to ask?
There is a thriving industry in producing such educational certificates which are impossible, with any ease, to refute because the issuing organization has closed.
All of this doctoral education cost me $29.85 and the publisher can rest assured that the bill will be in my next expenses.
Note that it would be truly damn near impossible for any Australian university to track down that this was a fake. For a Chinese university it would be a non-starter.
Think now of the situation in China. Someone applies for a job. They did live overseas for a number of years. And they have perfectly legitimate looking qualifications to prove they have whatever degree they chose. (Creating a folder of slightly used and tattered correspondence to support the false degree is not only easy, it is pleasurable.)
In China employers often do not check the bona fides of job applicants’ qualifications, and universities are unable or unwilling to prevent scammers from ripping off their qualifications.
Dr George Brown, over three years of research for his PhD (which was a genuine one, more fool he) , identified 46 websites that claimed to sell fake degrees and another 52 that closed down before they could be contacted.
[photopress:mba_1_2.jpg,full,alignleft]Some of the websites advertise the degrees as ‘novelty items’.
Not mine, http://www.diplomafakes.com, which sells $30 diplomas from closed colleges with the remarkable selling line: ‘With a new job, this could be the greatest year of your life … but you could make it your worst by passing around a lame, degree-less resume. Start getting ahead TODAY! Instead of wasting thousands of dollars and hours in school, use our FAST, EASY 3-step online ordering process to get a degree from a closed college in about a week for only $29.95.’
Seems a bargain to me.
These sites are very reassuring. For example http://www.backalleypress.com, says: ‘Rest assured we never put novelty on anything we print, our press is far from being a inkjet printer, and the diplomas are printed on parchment paper, and the transcripts on security paper, just as used by all of the major universities.’
Dr Brown’s study also found that more than 53% of surveyed employers had discovered a falsified academic qualification during the recruitment or admissions process.
Yet less than half of the recruitment agencies surveyed checked the authenticity of job seekers’ academic qualifications.
All of this reported in a newspaper where I worked for some years. I would not work there now. I am over-qualified. I am a doctor of philosophy and can, sort of, prove it. I have not yet bought a gown. That is an optional extra. But I think it would add to the impression.
For China this is desperately important.
If fake degrees are that easy to get — and they are — and difficult to prove dodgy, there is a serious danger of unqualified staff working in jobs for which, to say, the least they are unqualified. Some central checking system is desperately needed.