A member of the public, Tan Soon Hock, wrote to ST Forum (25 Feb) today commenting that employers should be taken to task too over hiring of job applicants with fake degrees.
Mr Tan was referring to last week’s news that the Manpower Ministry will be investigating 15 work pass holders in Singapore who had declared their qualifications from Manav Bharti University in their work pass applications (‘MOM probes 15 for fake educational qualifications‘, Feb 18). The Indian university was caught by Indian authorities earlier for selling 36,000 fake degrees over 11 years.
“It was also reported (by MOM) that in the past five years, an average of 660 foreigners each year were permanently barred from working here for using fake educational qualifications; a few were convicted,” noted Mr Tan.
“Clearly, the numbers are not insignificant, and the matter not inconsequential, given that these people are entrusted with functions such as the education of our next generation and the provision of services such as healthcare for our loved ones.”
Mr Tan added that the matter of work pass holders with fake degrees is not new. He said that there have even been cases in the past of those who used fake degrees in their job applications and were hired by statutory boards and polytechnics.
“When these incidents were exposed, the organisations stood by their hiring of those individuals,” he commented.
Indeed, in 2015, when a staff of then Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore, Nisha Padmanabhan, was found out by netizens to have possessed a fake Masters’ degree, IDA came out to defend her saying that she was hired because of her genuine Bachelor’s degree from the “reputable” University of Mumbai. She was also hired because of her “extensive past work experience and good track record” besides her degree, defended IDA.
Mr Tan then asked why there were no penalties for employers who do not practise responsible hiring, since MOM has said “employers have the primary responsibility of ensuring the authenticity of academic qualifications of the foreigners they wish to hire”.
He said, “While those who submitted fake qualifications may be convicted and barred from working here, are there no penalties for employers who do not practise responsible hiring in weeding out such applicants?”
“Was any employer of the yearly average of 660 cases involving fake qualifications penalised? Can Singapore afford to let its reputation, integrity, work values, future, be run down by this insidious practice?”
No IDA officials was certainly ever prosecuted by MOM for hiring Nisha Padmanabhan with a fake Master’s degree.