Fake it till you make it
THERE are certain dreams we Africans harbour, and for some they may never materialise. It is to receive a quality education, and to attain a qualification; a university degree perhaps. Even a PhD.
Zimbabweans, apparently, are obsessed with degrees and titles, and at first glance there is nothing wrong with this. With these degrees comes upliftment of one’s social and financial standing. But the, um, degree to which this obsession is motivating Zimbabweans is frightening. People who have not been inside a university have been awarded PhDs, and insist on being called “doctor”.
To meet this demand for degrees universities are popping up overnight. Some have even gone international, by opening offices in Zambia, the DRC and Mozambique.
In all cases, recipients are asked to pay a fee upfront, which ranges from $3 500 to as much as $10 000, ostensibly to cover graduation and ancillaries but in reality for financial gain. And this is where is gets serious. Money, the root of evil in this case, is the motive – and the degrees are mostly fake. Zimbabwe’s Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has warned the government would introduce a law to punish people receiving degrees from unaccredited institutions.
“Very soon it will be a criminal offence in Zimbabwe to offer, seek or receive a fake degree or to get one from an unaccredited organisation.”
He added the law would be applied retrospectively, which meant several high-ranking government officials, including ministers, could be arrested for possessing fake degrees. This phenomenon is a sad indictment on a once proud education system in Zimbabwe. A system that was once the pride of Africa.
If not curtailed, lives will be ruined – or lost.