Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Degrees for sale

Ad Posted by Hello

Talk about fast, just after the Star's exclusive investigative report on online degrees for sale, this little ad pop up in my mailbox. I wonder how do you tell if one is a fake from the real one. Do they have namesake of universities that are not in existance or is there a huge "fake" wording in the cert? Figure that the syndicates sense that exposure is not too bad a deal as it helps for make people aware that such schemes exist and it's just free advertising for them. Any publicity is good publicity. No need for colleges and universities to spend oodles of money to publicize their courses, the media is doing that for them. Wonder why I'm working so hard and paying my way through a master's program when in fact I can log on an obtain a degree instantly! Well they could even for a tidy sum arrange a 'graduation' ceremony including a chancelor to officiate! Wow is there nothing in this world that can't be counterfeited? My, money can buy anything nowadays.


fishtail said...

Looks like the prices of fake degrees have dropped. Less than 4 years ago, I was offered a PhD for US$2000 (no ceremony, no handshake, no photograph). Today, it's much less (ceremony and all). Inflation? What inflation?

bayibhyap said...

This fake degrees or degree mill thing had been in existence many years ago. But it is definitely more prevalent today. The pressures of our ever competitive world has created a ready market. There are certain publications that update us on the latest degree mills in the market. One established guide is John Bear's.

The trouble now is that there are fake degrees offered whose certificates resemble exactly those awarded by established institutions. You won't be able to tell the difference unless you check with the institution itself. I came across one in the course of my HR audit a few years ago.

Jeremy said...

With engineers at least, it's easy to weed out the fakes. Just ask a couple of questions. With programmers, ask them during the interview to write a bit of code, especially something that requires pointers.

Or, if constructors, ask for a portfolio with the job application, like you would an architect. Then discuss their portfolio during the interview. Examples are here and here.

If a fake still manages to get through, then a) you're a lousy interviewer or b) the fake is really smart and worth employing anyhow, though you wouldn't want to entrust him with anything requiring integrity.

While on the topic, I find it really strange that interviews consist almost entirely of talk. If you're hiring a coder, you'll want to see him write code during the interview. With an accountant, you may want him to interpret a couple of balance sheets and cash flow statements and profit and loss accounts. But as it is right now, interviews are more a test of eloquence that of job-specific skills. Even worse, many HR people use interviews to gauge teamwork ability and personality. Stupid.