Earlier this month, while conducting a routine investigation of a fake degree case, the Indian police had uncovered a much bigger case of an Indian university selling tens of thousands of fake degrees to a multitude of people, the Times of India reported.
Manav Bharti University, located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, had sold 36,000 fake degrees across 17 states in the country in over 11 years.
In fact, of the total 41,000 degrees issued by the University, only 5,000 have been found to be genuine so far.
The university is run by the Manav Bharti Charitable Trust.
Police have now initiated the process to extradite trust chairman Raj Kumar Rana from Australia.
The trust operates private universities in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
While this fake degree scam happened in India, it has now become a national concern in Singapore as some of the graduates from Manav Bharti University have been found to be working in the city-state.
A cursory check on LinkedIn, a popular social media site for working professionals, revealed that there are already a number of graduates from Manav Bharti University working in Singapore.
It is not known how they have obtained their degrees from Manav Bharti University.
Netizens slam MOM for purported lack of proper vetting of such graduates’ qualifications prior to allowing them to work in S’pore
This news has been making rounds on social media and was even picked up on the r/Singapore subreddit.
Many netizens were quick to comment under the thread, slamming the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for allowing such graduates to get a job in Singapore without vetting through their qualifications properly.
They added that stricter laws should be put in place to punish those who are found to own fake degrees.
One user asked, “How robust are our systems in detecting such cases? Or is it ever possible to reliably detect such cases?”
One Redditor said that the Government only forces Singaporeans to abide by rules and penalises them if they are found guilty, but “the rest of the world is free to do as they like”.
On top of that, a large group of netizens shared their purported anecdotes from their workplace with colleagues from India who allegedly have only the bare minimum knowledge and skills to carry out a certain task, while higher management turns a blind eye to the situation.
One Reddit user alleged that a water treatment company under which their friend’s son was employed had hired two Indian nationals and asked the friend’s son — an engineering degree holder from a local university — to teach the two workers how to carry out their job.
“The company hired two Indians, put them under him and asked him to teach them (what he does basically). He throw letter the next week without having a new job offer,” the user wrote.
Separately, a netizen who graduated from a ‘reputable Indian university’ agreed that many Indian universities barely teach their students and merely provide them with fake degrees.
The Redditor added that their below-par Indian housemates have now all left to Canada or the USA as research fellows or visiting faculty.
However, the user is confident that they do not even know “basic biology”.
“There is even a joke in India, ‘if you don’t get into any University in USA, can still apply for Singapore as a back-up’ because they were so open to allowing Indians to study here and also providing them with scholarship,” the user wrote.
To curb this, online users suggested that MOM should have a whitelist so that only graduates from reputable universities can apply to work in Singapore.
One user claimed that a whitelist of universities actually exists in Singapore.
“I had to select the name of my uni when I apply for work visa. Luckily it was listed there, for other universities, it might have taken longer to process since MoE needs to confirm its existence and verify its legitimacy,” they said.
MOM is currently investigating 15 work pass holders who declared qualifications from Manav Bharti University in their work pass applications.
A spokesperson for the Ministry said on Wednesday that their work passes will be “immediately revoked and they will be permanently barred from employment in Singapore” if they were found to have falsely declared their educational qualifications.
MOM also said that those found guilty may face a fine of up to S$20,000, a jail term of up to two years or both under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.
The Ministry stressed that employers primarily bear the brunt of ensuring the “authenticity and quality” of the academic qualifications of foreign staff members they wish to hire, particularly before making a work pass application for them.
MOM said that as an additional safeguard, it carries out its own checks after the employer submits the staff members’ academic documents.
“In addition, MOM receives and acts on reports from employers who discover that they have been misled after the work pass holder has arrived,” the Ministry added.
According to MOM, an average of 660 foreigners have been permanently barred each year from working in Singapore for putting up false education qualifications in their work pass applications.
Over the same period, an average of eight foreigners annually were convicted and penalised by the courts for submitting false declarations of educational qualifications.