Ghazanfar Ali Khan
Saudi Arabia is mounting a crackdown on academic fraud after several incidents were uncovered recently in which Saudis and expatriates were found holding lucrative jobs on the basis of fake degrees and diplomas of reputed universities.
The plan is also to blacklist and persecute individuals and institutions found to be involved in counterfeiting educational testimonials.
“The Ministry of Interior will apply statutory penalties on people involved in counterfeiting academic degrees,” said a statement quoting Maj. Gen. Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al-Maroal, a ministry spokesperson, Sunday.
Al-Maroal said that the ministry would punish those “involved in crimes of counterfeiting degrees.” Such offenders will be arrested, tried in local courts and then imprisoned, said the ministry’s spokesman, adding that foreigners found using or selling fake degrees will be jailed prior to being deported. “They will also not be allowed to re-enter the Kingdom,” he noted.
“Several instances of fake degrees were uncovered in different parts of the country recently,” said Abdulrahman Al-Zamil, president of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He highlighted the role of several institutions including the Saudi Council of Engineers (SCE) in curbing the menace.
“In Riyadh even today, one can buy a fake degree or diploma of one’s choice for something between SR1,000 and SR15, 000,” said Saleem-ur Rahman, an education consultant. “Batha, Somaisi and Hara districts in Riyadh are notorious for selling fake degrees,” said Rahman.
Only last week, the SCE announced that it had detected more than 30,000 foreign engineers with fake degrees and urged public and private firms to only employ engineers registered with the organization.
In another case, police in Saudi Arabia arrested an expatriate forger, who allegedly made SR13 million selling fake degrees to students.