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[Opinion] More Fake Degrees

Posted March. 20, 2006 03:34,   


“Registration criteria for overseas PhD degree holders will be tightened. As a result, fake PhD holders will no longer be allowed to take jobs.”

This is old news. The Korea Independent Commission Against Corruption announced the above on July 2003 when a study showed that three out of 10 overseas PhD degrees were fake at the time.

If the overseas degree registration system established by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) had been properly administered, fake overseas degrees would no longer be a problem.

More fake PhDs-

The recently discovered fake degree-holders who purchased PhD certificates from a Russian leading music university through a domestic source include two incumbent professors. It is comedic that they do not understand Russian at all, even what the certificates say.

Two years ago, an American ex-bellboy was discovered working as an English literature professor in Seoul.

All of these cases happened after the government announced its plan to fight fake doctoral degrees. From the results, the government announcement was apparently nothing but a bluff, a situation which is comedic.

Korea Research Foundation disclaimer-

The Korea Research Foundation is the institute to contact about the overseas degree registration system, which the government made “tightened.” The certificate issued by The Korea Research Foundation (KRF) includes a proviso that reads, “This registry certificate is not a doctoral degree warranty.” It is an “excuse for official uses” that the KRF uses to accept the registration without confirming whether it is true or not. The KRF does not care about which institute granted the doctoral degree and whether it is fabricated or not. If it did, how can the government say that “unqualified overseas doctors won’t take jobs unfairly any more?”

Additional measures-

A MEHRD spokesperson said, “We have already started reviewing a new system that includes a research ethics division in the KRF to sort out faked degrees and plagiarized papers.” Because there is only one official in charge of this, the agency’s manpower and division budget will likely be raised.

Hopefully, a “National Commission Against Fake Doctoral Degrees” would not be necessary. It is also said that minister-level government official candidates would take short, intensive courses for fake doctoral degrees. The government may not have the ability to distinguish between fake and read doctors when it itself is a hotbed of “charlatan doctors.”

Kim Sun-deok, Editorial Writer, yuri@donga.com