PORT MORESBY – For some time in the place that I work I was fortunate to act as human resources director. Part of my job was to shortlist applicants for each position that was advertised.
The large numbers of dubious looking certificates that crossed my desk were cause for concern. The computer-scanned copies were almost as good as originals.
In the end, we had to institute measures to stop people pulling wool over our eyes. This included asking for a show and tell of the original certificates.
I believe that more than half the workforce in our organisation comprises people with qualifications and credentials that are dubious. There are just a few dedicated officers who carry the load here. Others with high qualifications just do not pull their share of work.
So, for mundane things, we end up hiring consultants to produce simple outcomes. Many people we hired claim credentials that are not their own. Damned dicey world of employment if you ask me.
The famous Enga Teachers College saga of fake receipts echoed the same problem that was faced by UPNG. Some teachers colleges have been allowing in trainees with no verified Grade 10 or 12 qualifications, so the quality of education our children receive gets further eroded.
Now we have places where you don’t have to enrol in an institution; you just buy your academic credentials and you’re home and hosed.
I thought faking academic credentials was just a Papua New Guinean phenomenon until I began to hear of cases in Australia of doctors who knew nothing about doctoring. Here are bachelors and masters degrees and even doctorates that are fakes.
And we in PNG dealt with fake Grade 6, 10, 12 and some lousy diplomas, especially teaching certificates. Now that seems like chicken feed as we confront bogus degrees and doctorates of all kinds.
That international phony certificates can be so easily obtained doesn’t augur well for the local workforce in our strategic mining and LNG industries. From England, we spotted a Nottingham University College certificate that looked the goods with a convincing crest and perfect holograms.
We found it was fake when the college confirmed the named person on the certificate was never a student at any time.
An offshore certificate from some dubious place will always meet with caution. But a Nottingham University College certificate that looks authentic in every respect makes my head dizzy. Usually British academic credentials are good but if legitimate-looking fakes can be so easily produced, I don’t know what the world is heading for.
A 2017 report from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation told of a person in America, a psychologist, practised there for 20 years with a fake master’s degree and, hallelujah, turned up in PNG. What on earth did this college professor teach his students? How to live a double life?
We beg those with fake international credentials, please don’t come here to take our jobs; we have our own share locally. It’s one aea where we don’t need to rely on imports.
And those already in the workforce with giaman credentials need to know we are getting smarter and will expose the fakes and that time is coming soon.