Database to weed out fake degrees

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The Higher Education Relevance and Quality Assurance Agency (HERQA) under the Ministry of Science and Higher Education is awaiting the government’s decision over fake educational documents in Gambela regional state. Officials and civil servants in that region have been caught holding fake documents. Apparently over a dozen schools have issued thousands of degrees without any accreditation from the Agency.
“They joined in an institution with no accreditation and sadly they got a degree and were later promoted and even hold government offices with the wrong degree,” Andualem Admassie, Director of HERQA told Capital in an exclusive interview.
Programs are accredited by the agency for three years and then they must renew after five years. The Agency looks at the program, location and teaching practice.
“I am afraid a lot of people who have graduated are not qualified to get that degree and close to 20 individuals came to the office on a daily basis to find solutions for their unaccepted degree,” he adds.
According to the Director, many degrees across the country do not meet standards and this has created a huge problem. “Some people have been willing victims because they know the school is unaccredited.”
In order to tackle the problem, the Higher Education Relevance and Quality Assurance Agency is currently working to introduce a modern database next month, to allow institutions verify authenticity of degrees, diplomas and certificates before recruiting employees.
A recent study made on civil servants in the Southern Region of Ethiopia exposed 3,200 employees recruited in government institutions using forged credentials.
The agency has also taken action against 15 private colleges and higher-learning institutions in Addis Ababa for failing to meet regulatory requirements, which it says undermines the quality of education being delivered to students.
HERQA is mandated in accreditation, reaccreditation, institutional and program level quality audit reports and the dissemination of good practice, is to help to enhance the provision of higher education in Ethiopia and the confidence of all stakeholders in the quality of that provision.
The issues of quality in education is in a critical stage where a huge gap is witnessed in both government and private higher institutions the Director says they are doing all they can to improve the situation.