Qualification, Award and Recognition Fraud in Higher Education in Zimbabwe

Evelyn Chiyevo GARWE


This exploratory study was aimed at substantiating media reports regarding the proliferation of qualification, award and recognition fraud in Zimbabwe as well as identifying the attendant causal factors, consequences and deterrent measures. A mixed methodology approach including both qualitative and quantitative approaches was used. Documents, self-administered questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data. In light of the sheer extend of the problem; the study was confined to the 15 registered universities and the quality assurance body, the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE). The results showed that there was indeed an increase in credential fraud involving both academic and professional awards and recognitions. The demand for higher education credentials, high unemployment rate, credentialism, and the desire for recognition and success fuelled the fraudulent practices. Honorary degrees topped the list of fraudulently acquired credentials, followed by professorial awards, doctorate, masters, bachelor’s degrees and secondary level certificates in that order. The sources of fraudulent documents included unregistered degree awarding institutions, degree mills, forgeries and corrupt officials. ZIMCHE put in place various measures to curb this scourge including registration, accreditation, assessment of foreign degree qualifications, compliance visits, audits and international networks. The study recommended the need to implement urgently the qualifications framework for Zimbabwe

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jse.v5i2.7456


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