Rampant fake certificates alarm education ministry

Rampant fake certificates alarm education ministry
Minister of Higher Education Gabriel Changson Chang (photo credit: Tamazuj)

The Minister of Higher Education Gabriel Changson has decried the prevalence of fake certificates in the country with about 500 holders so far detected.

It is a deeply-seated problem with costly ramifications which the government now plans to solve through a dedicated investigation mechanism and resultant punitive measures against those found guilty.

Changson said the majority of the bearers of those forged documents were from Uganda, Kenya, and Sudan, adding that some have been processed within the country.

Speaking to The City Review yesterday, Minister Changson said some of the fake documents were discovered during general admission processes to the public universities in 2020 and 2021 academic intakes.

“The issue of fake certificates is a serious issue and we in the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology together with the Ministry of General Education and Instruction are working hand in hand to fight this practice,” he said.

Changson said some of those fake certificate holders had joined universities through direct admission which he said affects the quality of education in the country.

He revealed that the government had already filed a case against some of the individuals holding fake academic documents.

“There are still other avenues that the fake certificates can enter the higher education; one of the ways is through the direct admission in the university,” Changson said.

“In the last year’s admission we detected 13 fake certificates and this year’s admission we had detected 15 and we referred them to general education for scrutiny and to take action against those who are involved,’’ he said.

Case filed

“We have identified 400 to 500 fake certificates in the country and the effect of these fake certificates affects the quality of education. So, we have instituted a legal case against some of them already and soon they appear in before court.”

The issue of fake documents has become a new phenomenon in Africa’s young nation. This year, Minister of Information and Government Spokesperson Michael Makuei Lueth said some of the holders of fake certificates were government employees. 

“These documents were disqualified and the number is big. In Uganda, there were over 400 people with fake certificates, diplomas, degrees, or even PhDs and master degrees,” Makuei told the press in January after the Council of Ministers meeting.

He went on to add: “All those who will be found in possession of forged documents, their names should be released officially and they should be prosecuted before the court.”

Mr. Makeui hinted that fake documents have resulted in low productivity in some government institutions, calling for the development of a mechanism to address the matter in public offices. 

“Some of these people who acquired these certificates of degrees or documents through fraudulent [means] are the people who failed to deliver in the offices,’’ the minister remarked.  

According to Makuei, the two ministries have been facing the challenge of fighting forgery but he remained optimistic that there would be a way through to detect and prosecute the culprits. “They should come up with a mechanism for identification of forged documents,” he said.

To address this problem, Changson said the government needs a fake document detector which is yet to be acquired. Lack of the machine is making it difficult for the ministry to promptly identify forged documents when they enter the country, Changson added. 

“It is a challenge for the ministry of higher education and ministry of general education and instruction; we don’t have a machine that detects fake certificates. 

“We are still using the old means of verification which takes time and delays admission processes,” said Changson.