The commercialization of relevant sectors is the product of the ideology of Economic Liberalism which was propounded majorly in the 18th century when the father of Economics, Adam Smith claimed that there should be limited government intervention in matters of public sectors. With time, many democracies of the world have adopted this idea, though to a minimum extent. However, such privatization of crucial sectors like Education has witnessed both glory and gloom.
Higher education is largely regarded as a sine qua non for getting highly paid job offers and sophisticated opportunities for livelihood. ‘Free higher education’ is nowhere a concept in today’s commercialized era. We pay huge sums of money to obtain a glorified ‘piece of paper’ of merit, showing grade allotments and numbers along with our details and with its far-reaching use, probably a handful of job offers. While degrees hold a huge value for the young students as well as recruiters, there is no denying the fact that most of the educational institutions, boasting about their high-tech infrastructure and ‘promises’ of assuring placements are in a way diluting the very ceremonial nature of getting an education.
As is rightly pointed out by Gilles Grolleau, Tarik Lakhal, and Naoufel Mzoughi in their Journal article titled, ‘An Introduction to the Economics of Fake Degrees’, that “Degrees serve instrumental and ceremonial purposes. They confer to their holders excludable but non-rival property rights such as abilities, signaling, and status.” The worse reality is that we are indeed left with no better alternatives than opting for paying huge sums of money in exchange for our qualifying degrees. With the advancement of growing privatization, education is merely considered a sector that can generate an abundance of economic profits from the hard-earned money of parents.
While a legitimate method of establishing educational institutions that can provide equivalent benefits and facilities to the students is still acceptable, if not appreciable. What is upsetting is the emergence of granting ‘Fake degrees’ on account of getting amplitude of money by charging a fee for learning. Many organizations and institutions, better infamous as ‘Diploma mills’ working illegally in the field of granting fake degrees have been listed out by the University Grants Commission (UGC). However, the problem lies not only in those ‘big houses’ rather is also prevalent in two-room rented shops which offer ‘fast track and super-advanced degrees’ in return for money as was reported by the India Today News recently.
As has been aptly stated, “A fake degree is just the click of a mouse and a cheque away.” (Gillan 2004).This problem of fake degrees is not new to our country, it has been prevalent since long. Economists point out that the long term effects of fake degrees can lead to miserable economic conditions in a country. Coming to a narrower consequence that falsified degrees can hold, is the degradation of an individual’s skills and abilities. To add another member to their teams, recruiters look deep down to the notion of certified qualifications in the form of degrees. Now, in a world where fake degrees can be obtained in exchange for affluence of monetary donations, the whole idea of building up individual knowledge and skills gets waved off the shore.
It is a high time when we accept those good opportunities cannot be availed in exchange for a falsified degree (obtained via paying a huge price). Even if you do, you will not understand and learn how to apply the knowledge and skills, so enumerated on the paper stating your qualifications in a fallacious manner. At the same time, recruiters must ensure that they verify the qualifications and credentials of the applicant during the hiring process. While verification alone is a herculean task to perform, it is important that government organs and departments must take the responsibility to assist in such verifications and commit themselves towards making education a more affordable and reachable tool in the hands of youth.