By: Hertha Ekandjo
The higher education ministry has received about 183 cases from 2004 to 2022 of fake qualifications and seven unregistered health institutions within the health space.
Higher education executive director (ED) Alfred van Kent revealed this during a consultative hearing with the parliamentary standing committee on human resources and community development.
A delegation from the ministry met with the committee on Tuesday. This was a continuation of a series of hearings resulting from a motion on fake qualifications in the public sector tabled in the National Assembly by Mike Kavekotora in 2021.
“We have a record of 183 cases that were found from 2004 to 2022, so that the record of cases that we have at this point,” said van Kent.
The ED said that since this is a criminal matter, the ministry is working closely with the law enforcement agencies when dealing with this issue.
“I am aware that the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) did appear here through this committee, and they have also informed you about these statistics. So this is how we deal with reported cases,” he said.
Van Kent stated that fake qualifications with the advent of technology, the internet has made it possible for people to access sources where they buy fake qualifications.
According to him, people might have connections with specific institutions that provide such qualifications.
Furthermore, he said that the ministry has a system that helps them determine whether a specific institution offers the qualification, and the institution will provide them with the information they need.
Meanwhile, at the same event, deputy executive director of higher education Raimo Naanda added that many fake their qualifications for certain reasons, such as promotion.
Naanda narrated that one forges qualification to fit the requirement of a job promotion that they desire but don’t have a qualification for it.
“It is either to get access or progress in your employment. Many people might go the easy route, to modify or fake their qualifications. Technology has advanced so much that people can do this,” explained Naanda.
He emphasised that it is difficult to detect this, as it requires specialised forensic equipment to detect forging of qualification.
“We as the ministry don’t tolerate the issue of the forging of qualifications. That is why we are collaborating with institutions and whatever network we have,” said Naanda.
Naanda said that the ministry wants to strengthen the NQA mandate to inspect and close unregistered institutions if they don’t comply with the registering process.
“These institutions are seeing Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) as an opportunity to make money, but with NSFAF, you must meet certain requirements to get funding from them,” he emphasised.
He explained that without meeting NSFAF requirements won’t be able to fund one’s institution.
NQA spokesperson Absalom Absalom said that several unregistered institutions in the country are still operating. However, he said they cannot go around and close these institutions.
“With unregistered institutions, it is difficult for NQA to know how many students attend them. As they operate in shadow,” Absalom told The Villager.
He further explained that NQA advises prospective employers to ensure that they request their employees to take their qualifications to NQA for evaluation to confirm whether the qualification is recognised.