Unfortunately, there are hardly any good ways to verify authenticity. And that’s a problem. Claude Pepper's Subcommittee on Diploma Fraud concluded that more than five hundred thousand Americans were currently using fake degrees, more than 5,000 of them medical degrees. It’s undeniably a big problem for employers, governments, universities, and society. But is there something we can do to prevent fake degrees?
In an era where an increasing number of employers are demanding degrees from their employees, the issue of degree authenticity has become a visible problem. To combat this issue, several initiatives have been launched.
In 2017, more than half of the Fortune 500 companies had implemented degree verification policies in their recruitment process. In 2018, two-thirds of these companies reported not finding any candidates with degrees that they could verify as authentic. These statistics show a growing problem in the authenticity of degrees and how it is becoming difficult for employers to verify them without some sort of external help.
We live in a world where the stakes are high. We need to know that we can trust information and that we can trust those that provide it. The educational system is one of the most important sources of knowledge and information for our society, but it has been increasingly difficult to verify degrees.
There is a growing concern about unverifiable degrees because they lead to public health hazards or incompetent workers in companies.
Take for example the fact that roughly 5000 medical workers in the United States work with fake degrees. They might treat patients in critical conditions without the proper qualifications.
But it’s not only about protecting others. In many cases, employees themselves could be in danger from lying about their qualifications. Many jobs require expert knowledge about machinery, safety procedures and so forth. If an individual does not have the proper knowledge, they might endanger their own safety as well.
Finally, there is the problem of simple incompetence. A person might get hired for a job and underperform drastically. This can result in a difficult work-atmosphere and even financial losses for a company.
The growing problem is clear, and many companies are trying to prevent hiring people with fake degrees. HR professionals are becoming more vigilant in their verification processes and most companies are adopting policies to combat degree fraud.
Some companies are taking this a step further and are working with degree verification systems to create a more efficient way to verify the authenticity of degrees. These systems verify and authenticate degrees, diplomas, and other academic documents. They can be accessed online or through the phone. This makes them very convenient for employers, teachers, and academic institutions. The downside is that not all degrees are easily verifiable this way, especially in situations where degrees might have been obtained abroad or when the educational institution isn’t connected to any such program.
Finally, we believe that the responsibility should not lie with the employer and the power of proof shouldn’t lie with a third party, but rather with the individual. Third party verification companies should have no access to this private information at all.
Now imagine that everyone could independently verify the authenticity of their qualifications! Not only would this protect employers, but it also allows people to stay in control over their personal data.
The blockchain is a shared, public ledger which records transactions in a tamper-proof way. It can be used to verify degrees because it can maintain, track and verify records of ownership and authenticity.
A university can hold a unique and unforgeable signature with which they sign degrees. These signed degree certificates can be given to a graduate to prove the authenticity of their degree to whomever they desire.
The blockchain makes sure that the degree being verified is the original one by tracking the chain of custody for each degree certificate, from its point of issuance to its point of verification. The chain cannot be altered without being detected because each block contains an encrypted version of the previous block.
Whilst the issue of fake degrees is large, there are solutions that can help resolve this issue. The implementation of blockchain-based self-verification systems for degrees and credentials throughout the industry can protect employers, employees and the general public from the consequences of degree fraud.
We believe that universities should work together and implement self-verification systems for graduates to ensure the validity of degrees and credentials. By implementing self-verification systems backed by blockchain technology, colleges and universities can provide students with a system that makes it practical for them to verify their legitimacy before they apply for jobs, whilst keeping in control over their private data.
Would you like to know more about how you can prove the authenticity of certificates and degrees? Feel free to contact us!