Jail for fake graduates
University and college graduates, artisans and matriculants with fake qualifications will face fraud charges and be named and shamed in two proposed public registers.
According to the SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA), university, technical and vocational education and training college graduates and matriculants with fake qualifications will have their names listed on two registers - one for fraudulent qualifications and the other for misrepresented qualifications.
The dodgy qualifications will also be referred to the police for further investigation and prosecution.
The register for fraudulent qualifications will be updated as information is received from the police, with finalised cases and sentences handed down by courts.
SAQA has undertaken to publish both registers on its website.
The authority released the Draft National Policy on the Misrepresentation of Qualifications for public comment last Friday.
Unsuspecting victims of unscrupulous higher education institutions will not have their names published in the register for misrepresented qualifications and providers as SAQA believes it is not their fault that they were conned but that it's due to ignorance, which leads to them being duped into investing time and money into what is later found to be unauthentic or unaccredited qualifications.
SAQA chief executive Joe Samuels was not available for comment yesterday, but in the draft policy the authority also warns that dodgy qualifications, especially in senior positions, put the safety of citizens and employees, the long-term viability and profitability of organisations and service delivery in fraudsters' hands.
SAQA says the stigma of being associated with fraudulent qualifications can lead to negative perceptions about the country, result in reputational damage in its skills development programme and its competitiveness in the world economy.
The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), the Council on Higher Education, and the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, Umalusi, will be required to investigate all suspected cases of misrepresentation of qualifications in the respective sub-frameworks and institutions it accredits.
The QCTO is responsible for crediting plumbers, electricians, panel-beaters, carpenters and mechanics, among others.
In November, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande published the Draft National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill to force all educational institutions and employers to report fraudulent qualifications to SAQA.
Higher Education and Training spokesman Madikwe Mabotha said the bill was an important legislative piece and was still being processed. The department will update the country on progress made to outlaw fraudulent qualifications tomorrow, according to Mabotha.
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