Oman Observer

MUSCAT, Fake academic certificates have been a major concern to the organisations not only in the Sultanate but also to the whole region and beyond, and tougher actions need to be initiated against such fraudsters, a meeting of the Gulf Network of Quality Assessment in Higher Education (GNQAHE) has decided.

With the advancements in technology, it has become easy to forge any document or degree, the GNQAHE has identified. “Fraud certificates issued by universities and colleges worldwide is a great problem today”, Saeed Hamed Rubaei, Secretary General of the Oman Education Council told the Observer.

There were more than 1,300 cases of fake certificates registered with the authorities since 1975 here, according to the MoHE. Out of this, 117 cases involved fake seals, 108 for fraudulent qualifications and 25 of which were certificates from entirely fictitious institutions. Oman’s Qualification Equivalency and Recognition Department has approved 12,605 applications between 2015 and 2018, according to the MoHE.

Such practises snatch the employment opportunities from the truly deserving candidates and these wrong people are at the wrong place with a wrong job. 

“These frauds are literally snatching the jobs of actually deserving people while they are jobless and no sector is spared of such fakes. Be it medical, nursing, engineering, academic, travel and other sector, frauds are trying to get in with forged documents.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting of the representatives from both public and private sectors under the umbrella of the GNQAHE, he said all GCC countries have come forward against such practises and stringent actions will be initiated against the offenders. 

“We are also creating awareness among the people and all our member countries will be equipped to detect such certificates as one team against such practises. There are certain techniques and mechanisms and a department to detect fake certificates.”

“In order to detect such forged certificates, all certificates should compulsorily be attested by Oman’s Ministry of Higher Education. Those certificates coming to the MoHE can be detected at once while those certificates which don’t come to the MoHE go undetected and straight go to the company where the fraud wants to work”, he added.

GNQAHE was initiated by the MoHE of the Sultanate of Oman in 2005 in Bahrain. It became operational since October 2016.

“Fake certificate is a big problem not just in the GCC but the whole world. There are many facets to its impact. Those who make a paper in the form of a certificate just for some money are actually tarnishing the image of a country. Such practice is an obstacle to the growth of mankind and the image of a country”, Dr Khamis Saleh al Balushi, Director, GNQAHE.

There were five expert papers on best practises against fake certificates from all GCC countries and the participants will come up with some solutions against such fraudsters who make, sell, buy, use such papers. These suggestions will be sent to the headquarters in Riyadh which will be part of the report and they will be sent to all member countries.

“We will get stricter and tougher in the future. We want to protect organisations in Oman’s both private and public sectors against such fake certificates and from people without values. All sectors are urged to make it compulsory to get the employees’ certificates validated by the MoHE”, Dr Khamis added.