The problem of issuance of fake degrees and its implications

October 19, 2021

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This article is written by Gursimran Kaur Bakshi. This article deals with the menace of the issuance of fake degrees and certificates and their implications in the education system of a country. 


In recent years, the problem of the issuance of fake degrees and certificates have become a new trend. This is partly because the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the education system to go online. But the root cause here seems to be the lack of due diligence followed by the regulatory authorities to keep checks and balances over the credibility of the universities and schools. It is true that internet-based education might offer lesser accountability on the part of the various universities, but the issue of authenticity has been there even before the traditional way of teaching faced a paradigm shift. 

Problem of issuance of fake degrees and certificates 

The overall problem with the issuance of fake degrees is the lack of accountability and transparency in the overall education system. 

Lack of accountability 

Issuance of fake degrees and certificates is malpractice. Such malpractices can only be curbed through a systematic crackdown. However, there is an overall lack of accountability over the standardisation process of various universities. The universities involved in the fake degree scams below are those universities that have either received the status of deemed universities or are affiliated with some reputed universities. However, even after the so-called acceptance by the regulatory authority of education in India which is the University Grant Commission (UGC), such incidents have taken place. 

This year, UGC has declared 24 universities as fake after the same was reported in the media and students of these universities had filed complaints. Most of the fake universities were found in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The point here is, how did these institutions reach a stage to defraud the students? The answer to this is the ignorance of the UGC while granting it a status. 

Below are some of the universities that have defrauded the students despite the fact that their websites show that they have been granted accreditation from the UGC. 

Lack of regulatory checks 

It is highly important that there is a common authority that is responsible for accrediting the educational institutes. However, the process of accreditation has also been compromised these days for not being transparent. There is a rapid expansion in the number of ‘deemed’ universities that pretend to be affiliated with known universities. Some of them are actually scams and they are typically known as self-styled universities. But the process to check that affiliation is usually not available. That is why in India, universities like Vinayaka Mission University are known as money minting factories. 

Increase of bureaucratic interferences 

Educational institutes are no more neutral these days. There is some kind of political affiliation linked to the working of these institutes. The educational institutes are either public or private. The former kind of institute is regulated by the government. While the latter can be regulated by the government depending on the factor of revenue that it may receive from the government. If a private institute receives funding or backing from a governmental authority, the nature of institutes becomes quasi-private. However, in both cases political interference is possible. This negatively impacts the working of the institute at the same time it is responsible for tarnishing the image of the institute. 

Rampant corruption 

The rampant corruption is the end result of all the issues such as lack of accountability, rampant corruption, and lack of due diligence tests to name a few. The rampant corruption is also a result of the failure of the public to do sufficient background research on the university. As mentioned above, there is an exponential growth in so-called deemed universities providing distance learning and other different types of programmes. Most students who get scammed are the ones who are pursuing distance learning courses but the accountability in these courses is limited from the side of the university. 

How to find out that your degree is fake

It is important that when a person receives a degree or certificate, they themselves should be responsible for the basic due diligence check. Here are some of the steps that a person can take to verify the authenticity of the degree and certificate. 

Cases on the issuance of fake degrees 

How can such malpractices of issuance of fake degrees be reported 

File an FIR 

If a degree or certificate seems forged in accordance with the above checkpoints, a person can report the same to the police officer and lodge a First Information Report.

File an RTI 

Report to the regulatory authority 

To report such malpractices, there is no one way. In every country, there must be a common regulatory authority that should be responsible for maintaining the due diligence of the educational institutions. Here are some of the countries that have regulatory authority to ensure the credibility and accountability of educational institutions. You can either report directly to the concerned university that has issued the fake certificate or visit the regulatory authority of your country for a verification test. 

Other than these, there are universities that allow students to verify their degrees through their own websites. 

What are the implications of such malpractices 

The biggest concern with the issuance of fake degrees and certificates is that it jeopardises the quality of education. At the same time, it reflects the failure of the system to contain such malpractices. Since the education systems across the globe have almost gone online, there has been an increase in the number of institutions providing education at lower admission fees, or without a standard entrance examination. But there is not only an increase in the number of educational institutions. There is a proportional increase in the number of students taking admission in various institutions. Moreover, because of the limitations that the COVID-19 pandemic has entailed, there is a tremendous increase of students and professionals taking up online courses and diplomas. Thus, there is a chain reaction through which such drastic changes are taking place. 

Some of the major concerns are noted here:


The issuance of fake degrees and certificates is one of the biggest concerns in a given society because only through quality education can a society grow and flourish properly. This is not just a concern of a particular institute, it is a matter of concern for the whole system because, without the support or ignorance of the political system, such malpractices cannot take place. The need of an hour is to understand the root cause of the menace and install a fair and transparent method of securing an education. 


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