Rid public service of fake academic certificates

There are cheats in the public service reaping where they never sowed. [iStockphoto]

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has directed all State institutions to carry out an audit of academic and professional certificates used to hire their employees hired in the past ten years.

This is not the first time that such a directive is being given. But despite such edicts, the shameful problem of fake academic certificates still dogs the country.

Needless to say, lack of political goodwill has often flown in the face of such noble efforts. The result has been a dip in service delivery and an exponential rise in the public wage bill that eats into the national coffers at the expense of development.

While appearing before a parliamentary committee in June 2021, then Director General of the Kenya National Qualification Authority, Juma Mukhwana, said that 30 per cent of the public service workers used fake certificates to secure jobs. This translated to 250,000 people in active employment who clearly should not be there.

It is demoralising that while Kenya has a huge number of well-educated and qualified Kenyans fruitlessly looking for jobs, there are cheats in the public service reaping where they never sowed.

PSC has given government ministries, departments and parastatals until January 31 to ensure the exercise is concluded and thereafter relieve those using fake certificates of their jobs. However, it is not enough that such people should be sacked; they deserve dates with judges and should be made to repay whatever they have fraudulently pocketed so far by way of pay and allowances.

We urge the PSC not to restrict this exercise to the last 10 years. All employees in the government payroll should be subjected to the process to separate the wheat from the chaff.

It is important that the exercise also be conducted in the private sector so that we can get rid of all the charlatans holding positions that they don't qualify to. Employment, whether in public or private service should be bases on merit, not deceit and cronyism.

That is the only way young people can be made to appreciate the value of education and take it seriously. That is the only way employers can get value for money every month in the form of salaries.