Source: Vientiane Times 27 Feb 2013

       One hundred students were found to have fake secondary school diplomas which they had used to pursue higher education, when officials conducted random inspections at five private colleges in Vientiane recently.

       Inspection officials reported the findings to the ministerial board of the Ministry of Education and sports over the last two weeks, according to the Deputy Director General of the ministry’s Inspection Department, Mr Sengthong Sisavanthong.

      “The ministerial board has instructed us to cancel the course registration of the 100 students concerned,” Mr Sengthong said.

        Meanwhile, those found to be involved in the procurement of fake diplomas will be disciplined and penalized according to the relevant laws and regulations, he added.

        Mr. sengthong said that teachers, government officials and members of the public were all found to be involved in the illegal activity.

       Officials announced they would carry out more inspections at another private college, two state-run colleges and a faculty of the National university of Laos. “We will make inspections on a more regular basis,” Mr Sengthong said.

        The spot checks were introduced after officials learnt that fake diplomas were being widely used by students to gain entry to colleges and universities, after they failed to obtain the requisite qualifications.

        Findings from the latest inspection revealed that holders of the fake diplomas had failed to complete Grade 7, the last year of secondary school, after failing their final exams.

        Meanwhile other students were reported to be only in their fourth or fifth year at secondary school but had purchased fake diplomas so they could take a shortcut to the college or university program me, Mr Sengthong said.

       Officials from the inspection department said most of the fake diplomas had been produced by copying genuine certificates. They reported that the counterfeiters made colour scans of real diplomas and then substituted the name and picture of the replacement diploma holder.

        However, it was revealed that there was one instance where a diploma bearing a genuine seal was discovered, although the name of the bearer could not be found on the ministry’s list of secondary school graduates, Mr sengthong said.

        “An investigation needs to be carried out so we can find out how this happened and who might be involved,”he said.

        The ministry is currently drafting legislation on the regulation of such matters and the scrutiny of diplomas in an effort to address the issue nationwide.

      “Once this document comes into force, it will help provincial education departments across the country exercise their full capacity to help the ministry tackle the issue, such as by launching inspections” Mr sengthong said.

     “The document will also require all educational institutions to employ precautionary measures when enrolling new students to prevent them from using fake diplomas”

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