Fake varsity papers crackdown laudable

Thursday November 30 2017

By EDITORIAL
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The University of Nairobi has set a precedent by revoking a degree awarded to Meru Senator Mithika Linturi on the grounds he secured admission using forged documents.

In itself, that is a criminal offence that raises the question: Will he be charged with forgery? Will he resign as senator since he used dubious credentials to get to office? Does he have the moral authority to continue being in office?

However, this is just but the tip of the iceberg. It is a symptom of a deeper malaise afflicting the education sector.

If a proper audit were to be conducted, many people, including political leaders, would be found to be holding dubious academic credentials. Unfortunately, the matter has been politicised.

EXPANSION

Our higher education has undergone a major transformation in the past two decades characterised by major expansion of learning institutions and exponential growth in enrolment, and also opening avenues for fraud.

Many universities opened doors to fee paying individuals to pursue degree programmes. Standards were compromised and worse, the race to attract many students and rake in huge revenues saw universities relax admission, vetting and supervision procedures.

Some introduced what they called bridging courses or allowed credit transfer but without strict vetting, thus allowing unqualified people to gain admission.

The end result was that many undeserving fellows sneaked their way through and earned dubious degrees.

Early this year, the Commission for University Education and the Education ministry introduced stringent rules to curb the excesses and positive results have been realised. But much more is required to seal all the loopholes to deter quacks from acquiring degrees they do not deserve.

We, therefore, call upon the commission and the universities to conduct audits of their degrees to verify if all were earned genuinely.

The starting point should be the public figures whose qualifications have been openly challenged.

Drastic actions are required to clean higher education and get rid of charlatans posing with forged academic papers.


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