21 September 2017

Uganda: Find Permanent Cure to Makerere Degree Scam

editorial

It's disgraceful. It's painful. It's unacceptable. Makerere University intends to cancel 69 degrees of its graduates on account that they were forged. The suspects are awaiting a hearing after which the university will make a decision on whether to cancel or clear their transcripts. The investigation committee has also uncovered unspecified number of undergraduates still at the university whose academic results have been altered for their undeserved benefit.

This implies the degree fraud at the country's oldest and most prestigious university is so chronic and prevalent that to suggest it's getting entrenched would not be a farfetched conclusion. It's good the university has appointed an investigation into the scam and hopefully, more or all crooks, who obtained degrees not by brain, but money, sex and other means, will be exposed and severely punished.

Academic/examination fraud has afflicted Makerere University for too long, but there does not seem to be a permanent cure for it. The scam is hurting the university image and its alumni locally and globally. The price is too high to be born. Competence of the holders of Makerere degree certificates is getting doubted and its graduates are increasingly shunned for employment or other academic-based pursuits.

Makerere should not wait until the credibility of its degrees has completely diminished.

It will be too hard to recover the lost glory. Besides exposing the offenders, the fraudulent process they use to forge the degrees and the subsequent penalties thereof, the investigation team must find and recommend a water-tight system or mechanism to stop a recurrence of this scam.

Short of this, their efforts, time, findings and the resources the university has spent on the probe will have been a waste. The university cannot investigate forged degrees every year. Every time such an investigation is done, it consumes a lot of resources and also further diminishes the university's image and portrays it as incurably fraud-prone.

Upon conclusion of the investigation, the beneficiaries of this syndicated academic scam, besides cancelling their degrees, must be criminally prosecuted to prove to other intending offenders that such forgery is a risky venture to undertake. The facilitators of this scam, too, must be severely punished administratively as well as by criminal prosecution. They should not be left to enjoy their ill-gotten loot at liberty.

However, the Makerere case should be an eye opener to other universities and tertiary institutions. They should not think it's only happening at Makerere. They are not safe either. They must check their internal systems and ensure they are not victims, too.

Uganda

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