Asia’s Hidden Need for Education and Institution Accreditation Checks

April 21, 2021 | Antique Nguyen

There is no denying that academic fraud and corruption are growing worldwide. Advances in technology, the rapid growth of international student mobility, and the globalization and commodification of education have made academic fraud more prevalent, while simultaneously making detection more difficult. Research has shown that more than half of people falsify their resumes, and much of the untrue information falls under the category of education. In one 2019 study, Hong Kong and Singapore took the top place for the highest resume discrepancy rates in Asia Pacific. The upsurge of educational fraud has resulted in growing concern over the academic integrity of job applicants and employees. In addition, employing individuals with false credentials exposes companies to significant legal risk, financial penalties and public relations-related disasters. Despite these consequences, news of high-profile individuals and regular workers that commit academic fraud continue to surface regularly in Asia. Earlier this year, a case involving a group of work pass holders in Singapore that used fake academic qualifications led to Singaporean and Indian authorities uncovering a decade-long diploma mill scam run by a major Indian university that has sold over 36,000 fake degrees since 2008.

From high-quality fake degrees available on ready-to-order internet sites to global manifestations such as fake universities or diploma mills, education fraud exists in various forms. For some Asian countries, in particular, the problem of academic fraud and corruption can be extreme. The enormous increase in outbound mobility from China in recent years has created a perfect breeding ground for it. Although statistics are nearly impossible to quantify due to the undetectable nature that many fake qualifications possess, various studies reveal that the issue is a deep-rooted problem across Asia. For instance, China’s Ministry of Education, as well as the popular Chinese website, has exposed 400 fraudulent universities in China, uncovered 30 new bogus institutions, and has produced their 6th list of blacklisted schools. In Indian cities such as Bangalore, police estimate that a minimum of 40,000 people have gained employment on the basis of fake credentials. Meanwhile, in countries such as the Philippines, purchasing a fake academic qualification is as easy as spending a few dollars from hole-in-the-wall shops. In fact, in 2019, a group of academic credential evaluators addressed the world’s largest diploma mill, which is based in Pakistan and is still running to this day. Authorities seized 2.2 million blank diplomas, transcripts, accreditation letterheads, and information on “millions and millions of fake diplomas and transcripts” which were traced back to 1997.

In recognizing the true scale and repercussions of academic fraud, here is how employers can safeguard their organization.


Adopt Strong Authentication and Verification Procedures

Implementing thorough and expert authentication and verification procedures are essential defenses that companies can adopt to decrease the risk of hiring a candidate with fraudulent documents. Though fake qualifications and inside jobs may often be detected by physical document inspection, the increasing sophistication of forgeries due to readily available editing technology and other criminal activity facilitators increase the need for firms to implement more robust verification procedures while hiring. For high-risk countries that have a lack of background screening procedures, such as Malaysia and South Korea, it is imperative that employers verify documents with issuing agencies, educational institutions or the government. This process can be expedited by using degree verification services or partnering with a leading and trustworthy background screening provider such as Cisive.

With over four decades of experience in conducting background screening worldwide, Cisive works with employers, governments and various organizations to help them verify their candidates’ credentials and gauge suitability for employment. Degree verification services are offered as part of our comprehensive screening solutions, and we have a 98.83% verification rate in verifying attendance, periods of enrollment, graduation date, the awarding of a degree or diploma, the field in which the degree was awarded, and the name of the official organization providing accreditation. If you do not currently have an education check service in your current screening package, contact Cisive today to learn more.


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