EDUCATIONISTS welcome the implementation of a national registry for PhD holders by the Higher Education Ministry.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Asma Ismail said that the move should be applauded by all Malaysians.
“USM strongly believes that the setting up of this information vault is timely to curb the increasing fraudulent academic titles particularly the PhD degree as the public will now have the access to verify information and deter bogus issuance of PhD titles,” she said in a statement.
She said many are tempted to add a fake “Dr” to their name as it lends credence and legitimacy that could prove lucrative.
“This registry will act as a database to serve as an important awareness tool to assist the public and organisations in conducting due diligence process before calling, dealing, hiring, appointing or promoting any individuals with the title,” she said.
“The initiative undertaken by the ministry to establish a database for all PhD holders in the country is seen timely to curb this fraudulent behaviour.
“USM believes that the primary objective of the ministry’s initiative is to formulate deterrent measures and to send a clear signal that the Government is serious in combating the fraudulent academic titles,” said Prof Asma.
She also hoped that all public universities would assist and cooperate with the ministry to register all their PhD graduates.
HELP University vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Paul Chan said this move is a step in the right direction if Malaysia wants to be a “premier regional hub for education.”
“It is vital that we protect the integrity and credibility of the academic profession or we lose our global standing,” he said, adding that he fully supports the idea.
He also said it is vital that the integrity and credibility of local academics are protected.
“All PhD holders who have worked hard to earn their degrees have the right to protect their profession.
“For those who have no PhD, they should earn it properly and professionally,” he added.
Sunway Education Group and Sunway University senior executive director Elizabeth Lee said that this registry would only affect those who obtained their PhDs locally.
“However, my experience with bogus doctorates has been from foreign universities, including both genuine universities and bogus or unrecognised or unaccredited ones,” she said.
She said that she has had people submit false paperwork claiming to be from top universities.
“These documents were literally doctored,” she added.
Lee also said that she has also been presented with doctoral scrolls from universities which are not authorised degree granting bodies.
She added that a quick check on the Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) would reveal how many “dubious universities there are in the UK alone.”
HEDD is the United Kingdom’s official higher education service for candidate verification and university authentication.
The Higher Education Ministry said recently that it is serious about taking action against the production and usage of fraudulent academic titles by individuals and organisations.
“The ministry, through the University and University Colleges Act 1971 (Act 30), Private Higher Educational Institutions Act (Act 555) and existing guidelines on the use of academic titles, will establish a registry under the Department of Higher Education for all PhD holders in the country,” it said.
The registry will automatically register those who graduate with a PhD locally.
Verification can also be sought for PhDs obtained overseas.
The ministry said the registry will complement current laws and allow for the Penal code and criminal action to be applied on those presenting false accreditations.
Last month, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said his ministry has been in talks with higher education institutions on how to stop the misuse of academic titles and credentials.