Fake education certificates are commonly produced by fake institutions and used by students in India. Every year employers and background screening companies come across resumes with embellished education qualifications supported by false degrees. Our latest in-house research report showed, 2% of job seekers had forged educational qualifications and degrees. If we consider the same figure in proportion to our nation’s population, the results would be shocking. Such candidates, if not verified, not only threaten your firm’s credibility and make you lose out on talent but also give way to frauds during employment. To mitigate the risks of bad hires and frauds, organisations are adopting strict background screening practices.
Although background screening can assist in curbing the issue, the density of the scam and lack of efficient systems make the educational verification process prone to risks. Government’s drive of linking Aadhaar to educational certificates has raised hopes amongst employers to hire honest employees through a stringent verification process. So, what is the current education verification procedure and how does the false degree scam affect it? And what role will Aadhaar play in improving it?
False Education Degree and the Background Screening Process
Employers, universities, and screening companies come across innumerable fake certificates every year. This scam not only affects your organisation but also honest students and professionals. We are all aware of the presence of bogus universities and institutions that provide fake degrees and certificates to desperate students and job seekers. Apart from this, there are several small players who offer replicas of degrees from authorized educational institutions. Several cases of such phony institutions can be found –
- An article in The Hindu reported a raid at a distance learning centre in Bengaluru. The learning centre claimed to have affiliations with reputed education boards and offered fake certificates of different courses.
- The National Institute of Open Schooling, an approved education board under Union HRD ministry, lists 47 phony boards on their website.
- A research by the University Grants Commission (UGC) shows a list of 22 fake universities as of now, out of which 9 are in Uttar Pradesh and 5 in the nation’s capital.
While the knowledge of their presence is widespread, there is no repository of information on them to prevent this scam. Such institutions take advantage of the employment market conditions and weaknesses of job seekers to encourage fudging of resumes. In their yearning for employment and speedy success, many job seekers then embellish their resumes. Be it blue collared or white collared, senior or junior level employees, fake degrees are a big issue in India. The verification process is certainly not easy considering the gravity of the situation, the number of students, employees, and educational institutions in the nation. The present system of education verification involves a manual procedure of approaching institutions and getting documents verified. As the dependency to process these documents lie on institutes, the verification process can take long. Moreover, the lack of access to a repository of authentic educational degrees as well as fraud institutions make the verification prone to risks. The digitization drive of the government in connection with Aadhaar is bound to change the game.
Aadhaar- The game changer
Aadhaar is a project that aims to provide every Indian resident an authorized proof of identity. It offers a 12-digit unique identity number, which is authenticated by their fingerprints and retina scans. One can forge signatures, stamps, certificates, and more but replicating fingerprints and retina scans is not easy. This makes it difficult to play with the Aadhaar number. This feature of the Aadhaar system will prove useful in improving the background screening process.
The recent drive of the government to link Aadhaar number to degrees and certificates will make the screening process easier and accurate. While the system of linking Aadhaar to educational degrees is in progress, once accomplished, access to a database of this information will be available to employers and verifiers. By simply accessing the information repository and with the help of the candidate’s Aadhaar number, educational credentials can be verified. This way the verification process will become swift and accurate. Similar to an educational information repository, the government has plans to create a database which will have a list of all the fake universities and boards. This will help curb the scam to a large extent.
So, if you have a fake resume or are planning to forge your resume, think twice. While background screening is known to minimize fraudulent risks, campaigns like linking Aadhaar to educational certificates and bank accounts will add accuracy to the process. We at Background Inspector, are looking forward to this change that will uplift our already technology-driven and integrated screening procedure.