By Chris Rowell and Marcus de Courtenay
As learning professionals, we put our hearts and minds into designing programs that uplift, educate and transform. Often these programs provide crucial skills to learners, which organisations will look to when making decisions around suitability for employment. Many education systems, like the university sector, issue credentials intended to validate the completion of learning pathways.
We can all appreciate, then, the deep frustration of the growing market for fake qualifications. Bought for a price from enterprises called ‘diploma mills’, these organisations devalue education and enable fraud. It is estimated that more than 50,000 PhDs are purchased from diploma mills every year.
When the credential fraud is discovered in the workplace, it can cost businesses upwards of $10,000 in rehiring costs each time. When the fraud goes undiscovered, the loss of productivity, work quality and brand reputation can be even greater over the long term. Take, for example, the CEO of Yahoo in 2012, whose term only lasted four months after it was discovered he had listed a false degree on his resume.
Solutions to this problem are varied: public qualification clearing houses, internal policies and procedures for validation, and references checks. However, one new potential fix is starting to make its name in the industry: blockchain.
This article originally appeared in Training & Development magazine, September 2021 Vol. 48 No. 3, published by the Australian Institute of Training and Development.
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