How academic database could solve Kenya’s fake degree scandal

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The current debate about fake university degrees in Kenya is a wake up call to our institutions.

Something needs to be done to save the common Kenyan that has worked very hard to acquire the university degree genuinely.

On graduation, all universities are given access to upload the details of all students graduating including digital copies of their degree certificates into the national or regional degree database.

Pius Odhiambo

To weed out the vice, there is need for key stakeholders such as; the Ministry of Education, Commission for University Education (CUE) and all tertiary institutions to wake up.

What about having some common database? This is how the system would work.

Academic database

On graduation, all universities are given access to upload the details of all students graduating including digital copies of their degree certificates into the national or regional degree database.

Employers and other organizations like IEBC, CID , Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission can then subscribe to the database at a small fee.

When one applies for a job, the person does not need to attach any copy of the degree certificate.

The agencies will just need the person’s identity documents to verify the person’s credentials remotely through a centralised national or regional database system. It is called e-verify.

Degree scandals in Kenya is a creation of the Kenyan government because the government has the ability to embrace technology driven digital solutions.

The government of Kenya needs to protect Kenyans with genuine university degrees.

The challenge

But then I foresee another challenge.

It is ironical that some law makers have been adversely mentioned as beneficiaries in the fake degrees racket.

Let the next government give a chance to Kenyans in diaspora to help with setting up such systems.

Pius Odhiambo

Will they pass a legislation in parliament for establishment of the database?

Never the less, such initiatives can lead to creation of a lot of job opportunities in the digital space.

Let the next government give a chance to Kenyans in diaspora to help with setting up such systems.

In some countries in diaspora, universities use e-verify to validate credentials of degree certificates. The same can be applied to the Kenyan case.

Just like the EAC passport

In Kenya, we have the East African passport that allows passport holders to travel to member countries without a visa.

The same can be applied in the creation of database for verification of university degrees in East Africa Community member states.

For those who have attended foreign universities, it is their responsibility to contact the Commission for University Education to enter their degrees in the database if they plan to work in Kenya or East Africa.

The writer is a Data Scientist and Cyber Security expert based in Washington, DC. He is also a Graduate (PhD) Student, Department of Computer Science, Bowie State University

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