Google "get direct degree" or other keywords and look no further. The line-up of degree-sellers is there for the picking on free classified ad websites. Forget the eligibility criteria, forget exams. Just state your requirement, make the payment and, lo behold, you're the proud owner of an illegitimately procured legitimate certificate. A host of distance education centers operating from Bengaluru are engaged in sourcing these certificates. If you’ve the money, a degree is not a problem.
''You want an education? Then, you burn midnight oil, you pay your fees, and it takes years. But, if it's an education certificate, then all you got to do is to google and make a call; matriculation to PhD, every certificate is available for a price in namma Bengaluru in extra-quick time.''
This reporter posed as a student needing a certificate and spoke with ‘representatives’ of several degree-providers. Some gushed and cooed, others were all business.But every one of them promised a proxy candidate will sit the exam on her behalf. Don’t worry, it’ll be a cakewalk!
Even backdated certificates are available for a price. No one will smell a rat, even if someone files an ‘RTI’ with the university whose certificate you’re buying, boasted one agent.Why, one agent, who identified himself as Suresh Bommidi (email@example.com),even said a failed class 7 can get a law degree from a recognized university within a month. Yes, your honour!
Asked to provide certificates-of-proof, the agents promptly emailed scanned copies of certificates issued by Bangalore University (for BSc, dated 2011), Karnataka State Open University (BA, dated 2011) and Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (provisional certificate of BTech).
These, plus those of universities up north such as Dr CV Raman University in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, and Kanpur University, Uttar Pradesh. The agents of the distance education centres claimed they can get degrees of Mysore University, and PhD from Gulbarga University.
How “genuine” are these certificates? Aren't the students using these caught sooner or later?"Forget the legal issues. All is verified. Why, my cousin carries the same certificate you want," Samson of Exam Tuning Study Center told this reporter. He said he could procure certificates from Bengaluru University and Chhattisgarh's Dr. CV Raman University.
The client manager of city-based Balaji Learning Centre, Manjula Devi, said with documents procured from her centre, people have landed plum jobs in top firms like Accenture! Going by the accounts, such ventures are doing very well. Samson gushed that his target is to make five leads a month, but he ends up making seven!"The good part is that we get a lot of respect. Students who got certificates from us are settled in Dubai, Yemen, Qatar…They gift us perfumes, silver rings and chocolates," he said. "I'm proud of my job."
In some cases, one can get a certificate within a few months of making the payment. In other cases, an exam has to be tackled, but it's hardly a concern.
1.Sameer Desai, Indian Institute of Management Studies & Technology, Bangalore
Sameer: Hello, may I help you?
Reporter: I can't attend the exam.Will you be able to arrange someone to write my exam?
Sameer: In that case, you need to pay more and we will arrange someone.
Reporter: I don't mind paying more for a genuine certificate.
Sameer: We can arrange someone to write your exam.
Reporter: How much should I pay? (The agent preferred and suggested mailing the rate list to the reporter.)
2. Rajesh, Omnitech Distance Education
Rajesh: On Quikr, you requested for a distance course certificate. What course do you want to do?
Reporter: Is it in Bangalore?
Rajesh: Yes, in Bangalore.
Reporter: Where in Bangalore?
Rajesh: 80 Feet Road.
Reporter: What type of distance education is this? Because I just need a certificate, I don't want to write the exam.
Rajesh: Ok. What course are you looking for?
Reporter: I want degree certificate.
Rajesh: Which degree?
Reporter:BCom, but I don't want to write the exam.
Rajesh: You don't have to write the exam.
Reporter: If I don't write the exam, who will?
Rajesh: We have a person who will do all this. He will write. You don't have to worry.
Reporter: Do I need to come to your centre?
Rajesh: No. I will send you all the details by email.
Rajesh: I've sent your the details about BCom.
Reporter: I will check. How much should I pay?
Rajesh: You should pay Rs:1,80,000.
Reporter: I want to see the certificates. Can you send me a sample certificate?
Reporter: Give me more details about the exam.
Rajesh: Madam, you don't have to worry about the exam. We have made arrangements for the exam.
Reporter: Ok. Thank you.
Rajesh: As soon as you send the money, your certificate will be ready.
3. Sunder - Agent
Reporter: I need to talk to you about my certificate
Sunder: Which certificate do you want?
Sunder: The process is on. You need to send your details by mail.
Reporter: I will send my details. Before that, I need to tell you something. I don't want to write the exam.
Sunder: No problem, you will get direct certificate, without writing the exam.
Reporter: Ok. Fine. If I don't write my exam, who will write it?
Sunder: That we will take care.
Reporter: What are the universities?
Sunder: Mysore University and Bangalore University.
4.Hari - Agent
Hari: Are you looking for a job?
Reporter: No. I just need a certificate, not job.
Hari: Which certificate, madam?
Hari: From which city?
Reporter: Bangalore. Is this is a study centre?
Hari: It's a software development company. However, we also deal with certificates.
Reporter: What are the universities?
Hari: Bangalore University.
Reporter: Do I need to write the exam?
Hari: We have two types of exams. If you want direct certificate without writing any exam, that will be taken care of by our support team.
Reporter: So you have a person who can write my exam?
Hari: Yes. Exactly. And if you want, you can write by yourself.
Reporter: I don't want to write. I'm working. If you can arrange someone to write, that will be a great help.
Hari: Do you want BCA?
Reporter: Any degree is fine. It's for my promotion.
Hari: We are experienced in BCA.
Hari: If it's expensive, will you be ok with it?
Reporter: If it's a genuine certificate, I don't mind paying much.
Hari: It's a three-year course.
Reporter: Do I need to wait three years to get my certificate?
Hari: No. That's one way. Direct certificate is another way, but it's very costly.
Reporter: Cost doesn't matter. The only thing I'm concerned about is a genuine certificate.
Hari: You will get genuine certificate from the government.
Reporter: If someone else is writing my exam, will I not be in trouble?
Hari: No. See, the Block Education Officers, education directors will take care of your profile. So whenever your exam is scheduled, instead of you, someone else will be writing your exam.
"You don't need to worry about exams as we have contacts in the university, who will give you the answer sheets," Manjula said. She said her outfit has four branches and three exam centres in Bangalore and can get certificates from EIILM Sikkim University and Dr CV Raman University in three months. Most centres tackle the exam challenge by arranging a proxy candidate to do the hard work. "We can get someone to write your exam, but you’ll have to pay extra," said Sameer Desai of Indian Institute of Management Studies and Technology.
He said the actual fees for sitting the 10th standard exam of the National Institute of Open University is Rs:4,500, but his company charges Rs: 20,000 if the client wants a proxy candidate to write the exam.
PNS Study Center and Career Academy’s Bangalore-based education centre, shared similar information. Another firm, Bangalore Institute of Learning, claimed it has as many as 47 branches in Bangalore. A woman, who identified herself as Amreen, answered the phone. Told that so-and-so’s brother had a problem writing the exam, Amreen said the exam will be "very easy" and "all general knowledge". When asked if that was okay, Amreen replied: "It is possible. I can't tell you everything over the phone. Come to the center with your brother and we can talk about it."She said one certificate would cost Rs18,000. Never mind the exam fees, that’s a mere Rs: 1,350. The centre is also associated with Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), a US-based organisation that accredits schools globally.
Bangalore Institute of Learning is a distance-learning centre of the NWAC and awards its certificates, apparently at par with any education board in India. Delhi-based NWAC counsellor Deeptika Sharma expressed surprise when told of the shortcut-certificate approach of Bangalore Institute of Learning. She promised strict action if the allegation is proved true.
It's not that only little-known names are involved in the shady business. Allegedly, even a prominent joint university in south India that offers distance education courses."offers shortcuts to acquire certificates for a price. An alumnus, Rohit Iyer (name changed), a BBA, said the institute conducts exams at its premises, and students are helped with the answers. If a student can't appear for the exam, it can be arranged that someone else writes it on his/her behalf. Anybody who pays more than Rs: 30,000 could expect to be among the toppers.
When this reporter confronted an employee of the said university, who only gave his first name, Pradeep, he denied any such practice. Several other distance education centres too denied any wrongdoing. They swore their activities were squeaky clean and contended that if someone claiming to be from the organization has claimed otherwise, it has to be a conspiracy to tarnish their image.
Former professor and dean of Bangalore University Shakuntala Katrae said she was aware of such malpractices but that she did not have any first-hand information. She claimed such things do not happen in Bengaluru University. She said such dubious study centres are everywhere and their advertisements are all over, stating that a lot of money must be exchanging hands in universities to get the jobs done.
Katrae, who has also served as a senior academic consultant to the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (an autonomous body of the government of India that evaluates and accredits the quality of education and infrastructure of colleges and universities),said to check such transgressions, universities should regulate all affiliated study centres and publish a list mentioning the names of the ones approved. Responding to the claim of certificate-brokersthat their certificatescan be collected directly from Gulbarga University after making a payment, she laid the blame on “a few bad apples”, adding that it was solely up to the varsities to keep a check on such malpractices.
Rate card (as mentioned by various study centres):
*Class 10 from Delhi board and UP Board: Rs40,000
*Class 12 Uttar Pradesh Board: Rs50,000
*Degree Allahabad Central Exam: Rs75,000
*Post-graduation, Allahabad University: Rs2 lakh
*PhD from Gulbarga University: Rs3.5 lakh
*5 year LLB: Rs3.25 lakh
*3 years LLB: Rs2.5 lakh
Ads pulled down
One of the classified advertisement websites where these study centres post such advertisements pulled down many advertisements when this reporter brought the matter to its attention. In its email, the website, Quikr, said it had also blocked the account from posting anymore ads. It stated that people should be careful before buying the claims made in the advertisements.
Apart from Bengaluru, such agents are active in many other Indian cities. Online search throws up results from Mumbai and Delhi, though such shady 'education' centres can be found almost anywhere in the country. The phenomena of shortcut education and fake certificates are quite rampant, as evident by not-infrequent news reports of job seekers (and in some cases, employees) with spurious documents being identified. Last year, Bengaluru University learnt that 25 people had landed government jobs in Uttar Pradesh using fake marksheets“issued by the varsity”, except that these marksheets were in Telugu!
At army recruitment drives, oftencandidates with fake mark sheets are caught. In 2011, 14 commercial pilots in the country had their flying licenses revoked by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation after it learnt that they had faked their flying training records.
As the tagline of a payment solutions company says, there are some things money can't buy. Education might be one of them, but the proof of education certainly isn't.