The sale and purchase of university diplomas: Illegal?

By 18 July 2023 Articles

Trafficking officials recognized university certificatesThe illicit practice of buying and selling diplomas is a complex issue to comprehend and eradicate. This rings true mostly because the individuals involved are more often than not internal employees of the institution—much like the case involving a director of a state-owned enterprise (BUMN).

An official and allegedly legitimate campus in Makassar was proven to have carried out the illicit activity of buying and selling diplomas, which involved the Director of PDAM Bone Andi Sofyan Galigo and 12 other people from the campus. The diplomas were sold for IDR 7 to 10 million each. 

This case is not an isolated incident; multiple cases have tainted the reputation of Indonesian education. For instance, a similar incident took place in Gorontalo—but ironically, the victim, an Aipda-ranked police officer, did not obtain the diploma he was promised.

Seemingly genuine, but fake?

In these cases, even though the diplomas are illegally distributed, they are issued by the official educational institutions themselves. So technically, the certificates can be considered legitimate.

Even so, these institutions often deny that they had issued these diplomas, as it was not through legal means. These practices still occur, however, because of the existence of internal parties who are willing to issue and sell these fake diplomas to those interested.

Purchasing diplomas through these means allows the buyer to obtain the credentials without having to go through the tedious process of sitting through lectures, writing exams and theses, or other processes that take years of study. 

Fake diplomas: The aftermath

The increasing prevalence of illegal diplomas can be attributed to the desire for quick and effortless results. People are drawn to these certificates not only because seemingly-official educational institutions offer them, but also because they are often available at a relatively low cost compared to traditional education.

However, it is important to recognize that these illegally obtained diplomas hold no official validity. Those who possess such certificates are exposed to significant risks. One notable risk is the difficulty in finding proper employment, since many companies now conduct thorough background checks on prospective employees. These checks can easily expose the use of fake diplomas. 

Moreover, once employers discover that their employees have obtained their diplomas through fraudulent means, they are likely to take action, which could include termination of employment, legal measures, or even criminal prosecution.

Though it may seem unconvincing, this risk must not be underestimated. A private bank employee in Purbalingga experienced this firsthand. The perpetrator had worked for seven months at the bank before it was discovered that the diploma he was using was his wife’s, which he had replaced with his name and photo. 

A similar fate befell PDAM Tirta Singkil employees after being caught using fake diplomas. Dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct is a fitting punishment for this fraud.

Defense against fraudulent diplomas

The primary defense against the sale of fraudulent diplomas begins with raising awareness. Promoting the understanding that certification and credentials should reflect genuine abilities and qualifications is important. Without meeting specific requirements, individuals should not be eligible to receive a legitimate diploma.

Another key principle to emphasize is the recognition of the risks associated with using counterfeit credentials. Those who utilize fake certificates may face social repercussions that harm their reputations, and may even face legal and financial penalties.

Educational institutions must also take stringent measures to prevent the illegal trade of their diplomas. Collaboration with law enforcement agencies can be established to investigate and take action against individuals involved in these illicit activities.

Other preventive measures can also be taken at a different level by implementing a whistleblowing system service provided by an internal institution or in collaboration with third parties. This service functions as a medium for reporting fraud by ensuring the safety and anonymity of the reporter. 

On the other hand, with regard to effective and proper recruitment processes, companies looking to hire new recruits must also be increasingly wary of job applicants with illegal certifications. To ensure proper hiring practices and reduce the risk of employee fraud, these credentials need to be verified. 

One way to verify certification is through the Education Verification platform. Using this platform, candidates’ credentials will be subject to a two-layer verification process, so that data validity can be accounted for. With the cooperation of all related parties, the circulation of illegal diplomas can be decreased. Together, we can fight these deceptive practices for a better tomorrow.




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