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CAPE TOWN - The Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technologies (ZICT) is initiating a central database of degree holders in Zimbabwe after realising Zimbabwe citizens have been offered fake "sought after" diplomas and degrees.

According to the ZICT chairperson, Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi, the central database will help to clamp down on imposters bearing bogus qualifications of diploma and degree holders from universities worldwide and will also provide a list of bogus universities to protect Zimbabwe’s prospective students.

Mutisi told Business Report that this initiative has received a positive response in Zimbabwe. He revealed that the ZICT will be working closely with the universities in Zimbabwe.

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"We have Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE) which we will soon be getting in touch with."

"We will soon be meeting the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security to request that they block these fake online educational institutions. They only give you a degree when you have paid. 

This organisation's chairperson believes that the central database will tender positive socio-economic effects as it will portray Zimbabwe as an honest and trusted country.

The ZICT's diploma and degree central database portal will be modelled in the same format as the United Kingdom Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD).

"The HEDD is the higher education’s official service for candidate verification and university authentication. It was launched in 2011 with funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England," Mutisi explained. 

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Its purpose is to attend to enquirers with the ability to verify a candidate’s academic credentials or authenticate a university or college in the UK. The reason for this service is to protect UK universities, employers and graduates from degree fraud.

"As ZICT we know the importance of verification of degree results and qualifications as a part of the recruitment process for employers of graduates, and for higher education providers recruiting first-degree graduates onto postgraduate courses and research programmes. The production of fraudulent documents, or fake degrees and diplomas, has been going on in Zimbabwe, but it is only in the last five years that educational fraud or ‘fake qualifications’ have really become a worldwide problem.  For those who have a fake qualification or have obtained their qualification from a dubious university beware this database will reveal all," he concluded.

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In 2014, then Zimbabwe's first lady was awarded a PhD by the University of Zimbabwe under unclear circumstances, New Zimbabwe reported. It's been reported that in the same year, the music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi and the former Zimbabwe Revenue Authority boss, Gershem Pasi received honorary doctorate degrees from the little-known Institute of Philanthropy (IPP).

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