A decision by Makerere University to recall law degrees it conferred in the past decade on the grounds that some of them could have been forged is a bold and unprecedented crackdown on a wave of academic fraud that has been sweeping through institutions of higher learning in the region.
The past decade has seen an exponential expansion of university education feeding off a frenetic scramble for academic papers as thousands rush to gain an edge in the job market.
The situation has, however, spawned a desperation for degrees by whatever means, giving rise to criminal activities such as forgery of certificates, alteration of results and buying of credentials.
Still, some of the universities in Kenya and the region have deliberately or unwittingly lowered their academic standards just to keep students in class in a bid to keep afloat, consequently producing half-baked graduates. This is why we support Makerere’s effort to clean up its system in order to restore the dignity and respect it has gained through the decades.
Notably, Kenya’s Council of Legal Education (CLE) has promptly taken the cue and ordered a certification of all degrees from Makerere conferred in the past decade.
Other universities must follow Makerere’s example. That is the only way they will gain and maintain global respect for the benefit of their students and alumni.