Thursday, September 20, 2012

Saudi Arabia: Bogus Docs "En Vogue"

Someone once took a look at the certified copy of my doctorate degree and said it was fake. This happened at the airport in my home country! In my home country! You complete seven years of study and some tired fellow at the airport says without blinking or straining a muscle that your degree is fake. Strange enough, no one has ever questioned the authenticity of my degree in Saudi Arabia, especially when I brandish my professional licence card.  

People would do anything to have money. Certainly, I am not informing you. You should be scared that there is a fair number of professionals (even in the medical field) who possess bogus degrees. I'm saying so because I have met a couple of so-called "internists" who didn't know what to do with a patient in some situations, and they would wisely work their way out by asking a junior colleague his/her opinion about how to manage the patient.  

Now, how do some specialists who claim they are members of the Royal College of Physicians of London get their MRCP? How are they able to work in polyclinics and in some big hospitals when they are not registered with the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCHS), and hence do not have the licence to practice medicine in Saudi Arabia? Ever heard of the black market where people buy fake degrees? I mean even in health care?! I heard about this for the first time from a brilliant young Egyptian general practitioner, who happened to be practicing without licence. From what I collected, some specialists, who thought it was the easiest path to obtain their postgraduate degrees, bought their degrees, including the MRCP, from the black market. They succeed to get jobs as specialists and even when nurses and "colleagues" notice that they have serious problems in handling patients, no one (not even the administration) says anything until the concerned specialist finally gets caught up (in a lawsuit). Some probably never get caught. Maybe  they are good after all but are too lazy to sit for an exam?

Fake got them even in educational institutions. I bet some university students wouldn't find it funny that some of their so-called lecturers have not even completed high school, let alone have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in English or literature. I remember once I was helping an acquaintance prepare his CV. He had a Bachelor's degree in English (that was what he said), and when I asked him what his minor was, he blabbled over the phone for a good 2 minutes before asking me to hold on so that he could check it. don't go to university and forget your minor just like that, huh?

What shall we say then? If people are able to do the job without the appropriate qualification, is it worth running a background check on every candidate who applies for a job? Are institutions willing to invest in running background checks on potential candidates? Which is better then? Qualification or skill? 

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