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Summary of SingFirst Public Dialogue with regard to Fake Qualifications in Singapore


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Topic: Fake Qualifications in Singapore: how widespread and what should be done?
The topic of FAKE QUALIFICATIONS arose because of the IDA case involving Nisha Padmanabhan.
SingFirst is of the view that incidents of fake qualifications, if not checked, would go against the principles of Fair Society and Esteemed Singaporeans.

Over 30 concerned Singaporeans attended the public dialogue on 19 May 2015 and expressed their views. A summary of the public views are as follow:

  1. The Government and specifically the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) have the social responsibility to ensure that government agencies (including Statutory Boards) hire people with genuine qualifications and experiences.
  2. In the IDA case, while it had been clarified that Nisha Padmanabhan was hired based on her first degree and not her higher degree that was found to be from a non-existent, unaccredited university, the question remained as to whether she gained an unfair advantage over other candidates who had only the bachelor qualification.
  3. The current Government position of disregarding the qualifications from “degree mills” is not correct. Qualifications from “degree mills” should be treated as forged certifications.
  4. There should be priority accorded to Singaporeans in employment.
  5. The government should take immediate steps to implement stringent checks on the qualifications of all work permit applicants.
  6. The MOM should carry out immediate checks on qualifications of existing staff in government agencies and government linked companies.

SingFirst calls on the government to restore the Public Trust, to:

  1. Ensure that there is no displacement of qualified Singaporeans to fake qualification holders
  2. Assure Singaporeans that the highest standards are applied in the recruitment of public officers especially the higher echelons.
  3. Ensure that there had not been any compromise in public safety and standards in the areas of border control, healthcare, telecom, transport (buses, trains, airport, marine) and even education services.
  4. Take all actions possible to retain “Our Singapore Brand” that Singaporeans had taken so many years to build and sustain.

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1 reply »

  1. Dear Friends,

    Greetings!

    While I am happy that initiatives of this such ( talking shop on Fake Qualifications surfacing our local workplace), there must be more than a series of concerns as mentioned to effect a positive change.

    Basically, the summary had left out pertinent points as discussed during the said event ( and I will not like to address it publicly here). But less me just highlight some pointers for further deliberation to make it work for all (Singaporeans) and try to stay as diplomatic as possible (though can be a little difficult sometimes).

    1.The Government and specifically the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) have the social responsibility to ensure that government agencies (including Statutory Boards) hire people with genuine qualifications and experiences.

    My comment:( How do you want MOM to ensure hire people with Genuine Qualifications & Experiences? Does Singfirst has any Viable Recommendations? If Yes, Please propose.)

    2.In the IDA case, while it had been clarified that Nisha Padmanabhan was hired based on her first degree and not her higher degree that was found to be from a non-existent, unaccredited university, the question remained as to whether she gained an unfair advantage over other candidates who had only the bachelor qualification.

    My Comment 😦 In the said case, does anyone outside have any concrete evidence that the subject got into that position because of fake qualification she declared. At best, this statement could only cause doubts to people reading it. One must be mindful that accreditation is a voluntary process and not mandatory in many countries. As long as the Government of the sovereignty endorsed it, it should suffice its legal existence to meet minimum standards of academic integrity. Many E.U. institutions and Universities (apart from the United Kingdom) are not in the accreditation game. Though still deem important but not necessity. eg. the German has their own accreditation agencies but it is not the US AACSB for business and accounting qualifications per se. The French and Spanish also has theirs. They actually don’t need because they are Government Funded and are recognized within the entire European Community and even with harmonization with other Latin American Counterparts. In Europe, the Bologna Convention will equate and align qualifications from different Member Countries.

    Even in India, many Indian Universities are Members of The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). Their standards are equivalent to any Universities on their list – including those of NUS, NTU etc. Our Public Service Commission also took reference and recognized all Universities prima facie from ACU.

    On the US sector, Universities from the Six Regional Accreditation Bodies were recognized but not for Professional Accreditation Bodies like AACSB, and others Industry-specified Accreditors – which are deemed to be more ” specialized and industry relevant”.

    We should also be mindful that even our NUS and NTU only recently applied and got into the Accreditation Game. So, for the past 40 years before achieving those accreditations, were our degrees deemed “inferior”?

    3.The current Government position of disregarding the qualifications from “degree mills” is not correct. Qualifications from “degree mills” should be treated as forged certifications.

    My comment: Could anyone define “Diploma Mills” and “Unaccredited Qualifications” ? There are vast differences and from the legal point of view; one needed to establish before going further to address the issues at hand.

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    4.There should be priority accorded to Singaporeans in employment.

    My comment: Does Singfirst has any good ideas to work the system on : how to accord Singaporeans first to gain employability – to outbid the current system which some deemed that is flawed ?

    5.The government should take immediate steps to implement stringent checks on the qualifications of all work permit applicants.

    My Comment : Does anyone in Singfirst able to create a better “MOUSE TRAP” to implement stringent checks?

    6.The MOM should carry out immediate checks on qualifications of existing staff in government agencies and government linked companies.

    My comment : Assuming the agency is incompetent in create a system to verify the authenticity of academic or industry – related qualification; could Singfirst come out with a White Paper to Eradicate such nuisance?

    SingFirst calls on the government to restore the Public Trust, to:
    1.Ensure that there is no displacement of qualified Singaporeans to fake qualification holders
    2.Assure Singaporeans that the highest standards are applied in the recruitment of public officers especially the higher echelons.
    3.Ensure that there had not been any compromise in public safety and standards in the areas of border control, healthcare, telecom, transport (buses, trains, airport, marine) and even education services.
    4.Take all actions possible to retain “Our Singapore Brand” that Singaporeans had taken so many years to build and sustain.

    My comment: While concerns of such – to restore Public Trust are important and necessary. Generic statements will do little to create real change. The “other side” may take it as Party Bashing and may not act accordingly.

    What is required now (I think) is for Singfirst to set up a Committee and craft a viable and sustainable Education and Qualification Framework which is workable for Singaporeans at large best before the next General Election ( and let the Public be aware that Singfirst could be a Party of Choice and a party Singaporeans could rely upon). While creating noise is necessary, creating signals are more potent. An Singapore White Paper on Education and Skills Qualifications Framework is thus advocated ! Good luck to all !

    (MY APOLOGISE IF OFFENDED!)

    TYPO ERRORS , OMMISSIONS AND SINGLISH INCLUDED

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