Fake qualifications growing problem in Africa

Fraudulent qualifications are a problem on the African continent, the SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA) said on Monday.

“Everyone battles fraudulent qualifications, African countries are also faced with the growing problem of qualifications fraud,” SAQA chief executive Joe Samuels said.

SAQA is holding a two-day seminar in Pretoria on qualifications fraud on the continent. The seminar is titled “Building Trust: Promoting Genuine Qualifications in Africa Through Effective Verification”.

The seminar started on Monday and ends on Tuesday.

Many countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Malawi, and Cameroon were represented at the seminar.

Samuels said that through the seminar, participants hoped to set up a network in Africa for the verification of qualifications so that fraudulent practices could be countered.

“The verification process on SAQA side can take between 10 and 20 days. The processes can become longer when we have to wait for information from the country where the qualification was obtained,” Samuels said.

He had encouraged his counterparts on the continent to set up their verification processes on-line.

“In some instances, we would send a verification query in 2007, and only receive the response in 2011… that is how long it would take in some of the countries.”

SAQA is tasked with evaluating foreign educational qualifications to determine their South African equivalence.

People with foreign qualifications who wish to attend South African education institutions or enter the labour market apply to SAQA to have their qualifications evaluated.

“I advise every company or institution to verify educational qualifications and their authenticity before hiring a candidate,” Samuels said.

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Fake qualifications growing problem in Africa