Employers beware illiterate graduates!

Monday July 15 2013

The recent revelation by the Public Service Recruitment Secretariat (PSRS) that close to 700 job applicants submitted forged certificates is most disturbing.

Fake certificates point to a problem that must be curbed lest this nation falls into the hands of ignoramuses masquerading as intellectuals.

Early last year, deputy Education minister Philipo Mulugo revealed that a total of 5,200 students in various secondary schools could neither read nor write.

Of course, all these young illiterates had earlier on “passed” their Standard 7 national exams, qualifying for a place in Form 1.

We can’t but wonder what it will mean for the nation if some of such youth forge their way to high school, university and into public service! And unfortunately, we have a system that tends to put a lot of premium on certificates, reminiscent of what the renowned Brazilian educationist Paulo Freire, him of Pedagogue of the Oppressed fame, refers to as the “diploma disease”.

There is presently in Tanzania a huge clamour for degrees, from Master’s to Doctorates, giving the impression that only those with such form of certification qualify for anything in life, including being an MP. What a falsity!


The proliferation of universities in the country could be pushing people who don’t fully qualify to enrol, the type that ends up applying all manner of tricks to get a degree without earning it.

Worse still, our poor verification system, like the fact that we still don’t have national IDs, makes it possible for a person to use another’s certificates to get a place in college.

As we applaud the PSRS for their effort to unearth fraudsters bent on reaping where they didn’t sow, we call upon the relevant authorities to expedite the issuance of national IDs.

But more importantly, employers should never take for granted certificates presented by job applicants – let them count more on their own internal verifications.