Saturday, 23 May 2015

[Straits Times] Add more security features to degrees

THE recent spate of falsified degrees is something that should not be tolerated ("Put up authoritative list of degree mills" by Dr Daniel Ng Peng Keat; "Degree mills: S'pore must stay one step ahead" by Mr Harvey Neo, Forum Online, both published last Thursday; and "Work pass, PR applicants who lie to be 'dealt with firmly'"; last Tuesday).
It is unfair to graduates who have put in time and effort to earn their degrees honestly; employers are also misled during the hiring process.
Universities should do more to ensure this does not happen. 
One way is to increase security features on degree certificates. Examples include special watermarks, serial numbers and the university's seal, which are hard to replicate.
Even if the forgers were successful in replicating the security features, the extra cost of doing this will make their business less viable. 
Universities should also make their graduate rolls open to employers for inspection through a hassle-free search system.
By giving employers an easy system with which they can verify the qualifications of job applicants, the allure of fake degrees will fade.
In order to maintain the rigour reflected in holding a degree, more steps should be taken by universities to prevent external parties from spoiling the market with fake qualifications. 
Ng Qi Siang