Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pilot project for digital academic repository complete

The government has moved step closer to creating a national academic depository that's expected to help curb forgery and make verifications of education credentials easier and quicker. Human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal said on Monday a pilot to assess the feasibility of this depository has been completed.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), which carried out the pilot, has digitized the education certificates of all the students who cleared its class XII examination in 2011. Certificates of aspiring teachers who have appeared for the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (C-TET) will also be available in digital format. The results will be declared on Tuesday.

"This will help in curbing forgery of education credentials. The menace of fake certificates can be controlled through this," Sibal said, giving a lowdown on the process of verifying digital certificates. The minister said the recent instances of fake certificates that plagued Delhi University can be tackled easily through this measure. In June, Delhi University authorities found that a number of students had submitted fake certificates while seeking admissions under a certain quota.

The Central Depository Services India Ltd. (CDSL) and the National Securities Depository Ltd. (NSDL) helped CBSE conduct the pilot. "It was done by both the depositories with no initial cost to the ministry. It will remain free for CBSE for next three months; but after that it has to pay certain fees," Sibal explained.

CBSE Chairperson Vineet Joshi said the depository will make it easier for employers and educational institutes to verify the credentials of prospective workers and students. It will also help do away with the fear of losing physical certificates. According to CRP HR Services, a background screening firm based in Mumbai, discrepancies are found in 15% of the education credentials submitted by aspiring job seekers.

"We are also moving a Bill on this (the depository) in the coming Parliament session (that begins on 1 August)," Sibal said. Once the Bill is passed, it will mandate digitizing all educational certificates of school boards, colleges and universities. "The depositories will be soon deploying their own agents. Anyone can approach them for digitizing, but these agencies will first verify whether their certificates are original or fake," Joshi said.

Source: Mint, July 26, 2011
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