Parliament’s Committee on Higher Education and Training has adopted the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill.
The bill introduces a ‘register’ of fraudulent qualifications which would contain the names and details of individuals and providers who had been found by a court of law to be holding or issuing at least one fraudulent qualification.
According to the bill, ‘a fraudulent qualification or part-qualification’ includes a degree, diploma or certificate that is forged, fraudulently obtained or awarded in contravention of this Act, and has been declared as such by a court of law.
“The bill empowers the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to establish and maintain separate registers for professional designations, misrepresented qualifications and part-qualifications, and fraudulent qualifications,” said the committee’s acting chairperson, Charles Kekana.
“The SAQA is also empowered to evaluate foreign qualifications or part-qualifications and publish criteria for evaluating foreign qualifications or part-qualifications.”
If, after verification or evaluation, a qualification is found to be a misrepresented one, SAQA must refer the finding or information to the relevant professional body.
The following information must be record in the register:
- Name of the holder of the qualification or part-qualification;
- Description of the document concerned;
- Status or reclassification of the document to be recognised as a qualification at a lower level on the NQF;
- Nature of the offence and sentence on receipt of details from the relevant clerk of the court;
- Name of the education institution, foreign institution or skills development provider who issued the qualification or part-qualification;
- Details of a degree, diploma or certificate mill;
- Date of confirmed misrepresentation by the SAQA or date of a finding by a court of law;
- Any other relevant information.
In addition to being included on this register, the bill states that any person who fraudulently claims to have received a qualification is guilty of an offence, and is liable on conviction to any sentence which may be imposed for an offence of fraud.
Most common lies
Background screening company, Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), recently released a report which identified the most frequently lied about areas on candidate resumes in South Africa.
MIE found that the number of qualifications found to be fraudulent has decreased to 1,678 in 2017, from 2,049 in 2016; however, the number of misrepresented qualifications has increased from 44,880 in 2016, to 50,618 in 2017.
Results showed that a candidate’s qualification(s) is the most likely aspect to contain discrepancies when compared to other background screening checks.
Aspects of a CV most frequently found to be misrepresented or incorrect:
- Job titles;
- Period of employment;
- Reason for leaving;
- Employment history.