Tamper proof education certificates in an easy to forge digital world


Imagine you get treated to a doctor who has never attended any medical classes. Or the guy in your neighbourhood who has zero physical disabilities get through a big-ticket government administrative exam with a lower score just by the virtue of a fake disability certificate. Fake Certificates are creating a havoc and consequences could range from inefficiencies in state administrative functions to loss of lives. There have been reports in Tanzania where 10,000 ghost workers have looted the Government of $2Mn a month, with grants being credited to fake individuals. In India’s flourishing medical fraternity, recent reports cropped up of fake doctors employed to top hospitals and living a swanky lifestyle started careers straight after failing at high school as distributors of medicine before donning the hat of a doctor.

We used to detest the process of getting our school and college certificates attested by Certifying authorities in the 90s. But now we see the necessity of that. It is impossible to verify a certificate unless there exists a national background and certificate checking platform for every person working in the organized sector.

The corporate industry too is a victim of this viral practice of dealing with fake professionals. In spite of costly background checks by investigating agencies, the hiring process is costly and this is a real HR issue that no water tight systems exist to curb this.

According to The Telegraph, UK, Higher Education Degree Datacheck (Hedd) has identified 220 bogus higher education institutions universities which sell fake degree certificates and non-existent courses (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ education/2017/01/03/dozens-fake-degree-certificate-websites-shut-amid-crack-bogus/). Nasscom has an initiative to check the fake certificate for the IT Industry with over 16 lakhs registered profiles, 148 registered companies and 19 background checkers. Although these are commendable initiatives, they are siloed and would need mass adoption and constant monitoring to achieve considerable success.

Being a global problem, the world needs a global database that is immutable and tamper proof to verify professionals at any corner of the globe in a secured manner. We need a credentialing system that is globally available and provides irrefutable proof of the authenticity of any certificate. MIT has started adopting it, Melbourne University is piloting it  - why not universities in other parts of the world join hands to create a credentialing system that is globally available and provides irrefutable proof of the authenticity of any certificate.