In a bid to crack down on fake degree certificates and hasten the degree verification process, the University of Mumbai (MU) will now print Quick Response (QR) codes on degrees.
The move will allow employers and educational institutes to immediately verify the authenticity of varsity degrees by scanning the QR code, through a smartphone application. It will not only save the time of students — the current verification process takes anywhere between five days to a month — but also provide some relief to the MU’s examination department, which is burdened with an estimated 250 verification requests every month.
“We will start printing QR codes on degrees from the current academic year,” said MA Khan, MU registrar.
The decision comes at a time when the university is reeling under the problem of fake degrees and mark sheets. In August 2015, a Right to Information (RTI) had revealed that MU had detected more than 900 fake degrees between academic years 2012-13 and 2015-16, with the university receiving an average 34 fake degrees every month in the last academic year.
When MU graduates apply for a job or higher education in India as well as abroad, they are required to furnish their degree certificates. These certificates are then verified by varsity officials by comparing their entries with the official record. Wasave said the varsity has also decided to develop a mobile application to scan the QR code. “Once scanned, the code will provide a link to all the records of the graduate. The employers will be able to verify the degrees themselves,” said.
Currently, those seeking verification can apply online on MU’s website. While the degrees of those who have graduated recently are processed within five days, the verification process of older certificates takes longer.
An official from the examination department said the new initiative will drastically reduce the cost of verification and take some work off the table of a staff-crunched examination department.
The department, which handles some of the most crucial and sensitive responsibilities of MU, has been notoriously slow when it comes to adapting new technology. Nevertheless, following some major goof-ups in recent years, the department has taken some strides in the digital area, including electronic delivery of question papers to colleges.