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 Fake diplomas threaten Iraqi Kurdistan's university reputations

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Fake diplomas threaten Iraqi Kurdistan's university reputations  28.7.2012 

July 28, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlêr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has announced that it doubts the authenticity of 500 high school diplomas.

Dr. Jamal Kamal, the director of private school affairs at the ministry, said these diplomas have been used to admit students into private universities and colleges. He said the diplomas were sent to Baghdad for verification and that “40 of them turned out to be fake.”

Dr. Kamal said that only two of the diplomas were made in Kurdistan. The rest come from other cities in Iraq, but their exact source remains unknown.

“Upon discovering the diplomas were not authentic, their owners were expelled from their respective universities,” he said.

The fake diplomas were found in Nawroz, Hayat, Cihan and Human Development universities. The individuals holding the fraudulent diplomas were students in first and third year. Currently, 12 private universities are licensed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), where 11,000 students study.

Dr. Joe Assaf, provost of the Lebanese French University, regards the increase of the fake diplomas in universities as a major risk.

“Fraudulent diplomas are more dangerous than expired medication and food items. Those who make or use them must be punished,” he said.

Dr. Kamal added that it has gotten to the point that all diplomas from outside Kurdistan are doubted. He said, “The ministry has decided to investigate the authenticity of all diplomas issued in Iraqi cities [outside the Kurdistan Region] before they are approved for admission in private universities.”

Dr. Amjad Dalo, president of the Cihan University, blames the Ministry of Education for the fake diplomas. “The fake diplomas have affected the reputation of the universities. We have filed complaints against the owners in court, besides expelling them from the university,” he added.

However, Bapir Bakir, the general director of the examinations, says that the Ministry of Education is not responsible for diplomas issued outside of Kurdistan. “Any government office or ministry can ask us to verify diplomas. We contact Baghdad’s Ministry of Education to verify them,” he said.

Dr. Saad Surchi, vice president of Hayat University, has found a number of fraudulent diplomas. He said the diplomas were from Baghdad and Mosul and added that the students had been expelled and would not be able to study in any university.

Dr. Surchi believes more fake diplomas will be discovered. “A number of students have not yet brought forward their diplomas. We think some of them might be fake,” he said.

By Shwan Barzinji

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