The issue of fake bachelor, master and PhD degrees raised in various media is nothing new. It was raised before without receiving a proper response, when some citizens bought fake degrees from the Philippines and some Arab and GCC countries.
I then wrote warning and expressing amazement at universities receiving students on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays. These people were spiritually supported and motivated to get higher degrees, which entitled them to unlawfully get new titles, promotions, power and money.
“Why didn’t you get such degrees back in the 1980s or earlier if you really relied on your own hard work?” I would ask those people, who could hardly get through high school. Studying was different in those days and wearing wireless earpieces was not an integral condition to sit for an exam. Since then, the issue has been having its ups and downs, where some ministers were very strict about it and others were more tolerant.
I recall the final results back in 1984, when I got my high school leaving certificate – half the students failed the final exam, a quarter passed with 47-50 percent, which was just enough for them to join PAAET, and only a few of us got over 60 percent. I was one of those lucky few and joined the only university in Kuwait – Kuwait University – while some colleagues joined the police or the army. Our high school certificate was tough to get and we could only obtain it through hard work.
Nowadays, those holding fake degrees have the highest positions, including academics and top officials who obtained their degrees without fear of accountability. The education ministry recently said hundreds of reports had been filed with the public prosecution concerning fake degrees. Where on earth was the ministry years ago when we read news about the cost of getting degrees from the Philippines, including PhDs? Was MoE clinically dead then, when the problem was still snowballing? It seems that the ministry was busy spending its budget on expat teachers and supporting them. Teachers no longer teach their students and yet MoE yields whenever they demand pay raises!
Teachers nowadays are more keen on attracting more students for private tuitions, which 70 percent of the families have to provide. CSC will never be able to employ more citizens while MoE and other ministries recruit holders of fake degrees. While a citizen with an authentic degree gets KD 1,000 monthly, for example, holders of fake degrees may get up to KD 4,000, which is unfair because removing one of those people will provide job opportunities for three citizens.
It seems that these people did not have the magic lamp before 1990, but later they rubbed it and the genie came out shouting: “PhDs – at your service!”
By Abdullah Bowair