REAL OR FAKE?

Authorities in Oman have warned citizens and residents to be wary of dubious agencies offering instant university degrees and certificate attestation services.
The warning comes in the wake of detection of a number of cases involving forgery of educational certificates for getting jobs.
“We have come across a number of fake certificates during the verification process. Many of them are issued from universities or institutions which are not even existing,” said an official at the Ministry of Higher Education.
Following a recent announcement by the government, the Department of Qualification Equivalency and Recognition, which fights fake qualification cases, examines the credentials of the certificates submitted for getting jobs.
“Both job-providers and seekers are told not to engage in any contract until their certificates are attested by the ministry,” the official said.
This was optional till a few years ago, but it has been made mandatory in view of the mounting number of fake degree cases.
“People seek counterfeit academic qualifications hoping to bolster their job prospects. But on scrutiny, they are found to be bogus,” the official said.

The ministry, in recent months, has discovered umpteen number of fake certificates.
“All the cases of forged certificates have been referred to the Ministries of Manpower and Civil Services for action to be taken,” said an official who did not want to be named.
According to Article 14 of Oman’s attestation regulations, certificates from outside Oman are not considered for jobs unless they are attested by the Ministry of Higher Education.
The rule applies to both Omanis and expatriates as well.
For degree and certificate equivalency, a special form on the website has to be filled online.
Supporting documents like earlier certificates, post-secondary school transcripts or mark lists have to be submitted along with the candidate’s passport.
“There are also cases where students manage to get academic certificates through agents.
These certificates are also not accredited or supported by genuine stamps,” the official said.

SAMUEL KUTTY