Tag Archives: DARE

Combating Qualification & Academic Fraud Summit 2013 – Johannesburg 18-20 September 2013

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3 days in a very hot Johannesburg with attendees from agencies, institutions and companies from across Africa – South Africa, Namibia, Uganda, Mozambique, Swaziland, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, to name just a few…

Day 1. Starting off, very much about the problems, not the solutions.

Sebastin Charidza/Zimbabwe School Examinations System. Understanding the Trends of Academic & Qualification Fraud – the African Experience. Qualifications are so important that it’s a matter of qualifications by any means necessary. Under investment in systems & development. Insecure printing. Some electronic marking – less effective at detecting malpractice. Certificates & after sales service <where DARE – Digital Academic Records Exchange – & HEDD – Higher Education Degree Datacheck – come in>. How do you make your certificates tamper proof? Liberation style silence – telling on someone doing wrong is itself wrong.

Mike Hill/Graduate Prospects. Degree Fraud – A European Experience. UK = European capital for bogus institutions. More key now students pay – protects investment of genuine graduates. HEDD (Higher Education Degree Datacheck) = UK solution for online institution & qualifivation verification.

Rosh Maharaj/PC Training & Business College, South Africa. Cross Border Education & Fraud. Refs distance education/e-learning. Major plagiarism problem with PhDs. Parents will do anything to get children qualifications, especially overseas – BAMN. What are students actually doing with their mobiles? <What are students actually doing without their mobiles?> Most anti-social device ever invented. IT solutions – what about hacking? <but more secure than on paper?> Polluting labour market. Overseas qualifications seen as tickets to cross border transnational mobility & labour markets in industrialised countries. E-learning/technology/distance learning introduce new cheating opportunities. Systems with high levels of coursework provide opportunities. Cheating undermines the value of assessment data as an indicator of student learning.

Overall, great start off group of presentations.

Shariffa Miller/CEO Khulisa Business Consulting. Detection & Investigation of Academic & Qualification Fraud. Run through of what to look for in document fraud detection. Use of policies & procedures. National legislative frameworks can help – SAQA etc. Diploma mills proliferating globally.

SF Nyathi/University of Namibia. Academic Fraud, Quality Assurance & Accreditation Regulation. Major springboard for fraud = developments in IT <so solution = developments in IT then?> Clear definitions of academic fraud. The internet is now the leading vehicle for academic fraud <like the internet is the leading vehicle for everything else information based = leading vehicle for information fraud>. Simply, makes it easier. Possible approach to solution: more formative, less summative assessment; alternative approaches to assessment. Strategies: development of reliable information systems listing accredited HE institutions etc <HEDD again> very important ref internationalisation, information on accredited institutions by nation. Academic fraud serves to produce functionally illiterate workforce – gap between education & certification.

Followed by interesting discussion – hard to track who said what – one interesting thought in relation to work going on to combat plagiarism & credentials fraud as they are currently surfaced, referenced to MOOCs etc (fairly close paraphrase I hope): ‘…we may be trying to create solutions for a future that won’t exist’. <Interesting that sychronises with BBC item about FutureLearn, UK HE MOOCs collaboration>

Sunil Kumar Burra. Academic Integrity & Online Resources for Faculty Development. Definitions again. Lots of definitions…Global problem. Potential of internet. Green! Basically, the internet is a major part of both the problem & the solution.

Day 2.

Claudia Naidoo-van der Merwe/MIE Background Screening. Analysing the Benefits of Qualification Verification in Curbing Academic & Qualification Fraud for Recruiters. MIE (Managed Integrity Evaluation) Owners & operators of the National Qualifications Register (NQR) – holds qualifications for biggest South African institutions. 3.1 million qualification records, 30 HEIs – largest in southern hemisphere. Fully integrated with institutions – mirror images of databases. Empowering emerging economies with sophisticated tools. Launching African Qualifications Register (AQR). 14% of CVs ‘contain risk’ – occurrence increases in recessionary times. Fully automated electronic verification services greatly reduce risk. <How will this be affected by new South African Data Protection laws?> Asked the question – planning to be fully compliant with new laws, consent of all parties central to services. How does it work – upload spreadsheet of qualifications data. Generally 2 week turnaround time. Check that institution is legitimate & that student did obtain the qualification – whether the award itself is accredited/legitimate etc is handled by eg SAQA. Can go as far back as institutions are able to provide electronic records.

Joe Samuels/SAQA. The Role of SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) in Combating Fraudulent Qualifications. What is a legal qualification in South Africa? Accredited & registered provider; registered qualification – on national qualification framework; authentic documentation. Also: is the person presenting the document who they say they are? Figures: 11.8 million learner qualification achievements on database. 19,713 accredited providers. Data must be submitted to SAQA. Low levels of fraud in verifications made with SAQA – around 1%, zero in relation to foreign qualifications – as against 14% with MIE – why is this? Shift from paper orientation to paper/electronic verifications – must have both! Groningen Declaration on promoting global student data mobility – SAQA = signatory as digital student data depository for South Africa – must link with other countries.

Alwyn Hoffman/NorthWest University. Protecting the Integrity of the Educational System Through the Authentication of Training Certificates. Digital signatures initiative – funded under government THRIP (Technology & Human Resources) Programme. Problem: physical documents are easy to modify. So – using PKI infrastructure. Size of conventional cryptographic keys problematic for small electronic data carriers – so using Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) instead of RSA. Have produced digital signature small enough to fit on QR code or RFID tag to enable verification of offline paper documents. Smartphone = logical choice for verification. Have developed complete prototype.

Again, very interesting sessions & good to see what’s happening over here in the same arena as DARE/the HEDD & similar initiatives in other countries.

& that’s about it for today – & tomorrow is for me & Paul Naylor from Graduate Prospects to deliver our workshop on DARE, the HEDD etc. – so multitasking won’t stretch to blogging whilst that’s in progress. & then it’ll be goodbye Johannesburg, back to the airport & home.

Digital Student Data Depositories Worldwide 2013, Beijing

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Bringing together sixteen countries from around the globe to discuss digital student data mobility – China; Netherlands; USA; Mexico; UK; Norway; Spain; France; Italy; Belgium; Sweden; Poland; Romania; India; Australia; South Korea.

Traditional as it happened notes, apologies for ommissions & misinterpretations, & must take this opportunity to thank the organisers & hosts, DUO & CHESICC, for great organisation, support, help – & a mention to the support staff from CHESICC in particular for their unfailing courtesy & assistance. A great event with a great objective.

CHESICC/Zhang Fengyou, Director. National qualifications database. More international students so more international/overseas emphasis. Overseas access to verification database. Groningen agreement: support, but a lot of challenges due to language, culture, systems etc.

Dik van der Wal/DUO.Groningen: agreement to digitally share student data. Sharing of diploma data = first stage. Digital diploma register. <nothing like it in UK, outside DARE>. Diplomas from all state recognised institutions – supported by government, better service. Individuals can view own data/download. Designated institutions have access to data; owned by citizens. Further development: more historical data; all education recognised by the government, private included; extend access to business world; exchange data with other EU/global diploma registers. <check position of Information Landscape> Again recognises challenges. Objective: linking of diploma registers across national boundaries.

Chinese Electronic Registration System/Xie Hanlin, Director of Administrative Office of Students Records, MOE. Electronic registration, enquiry & verification of student qualifications. Step 1: electronic registration of all HE certificates; all institutions send to MOE for registration in database, then can use for enquiries. Include photos in database, improving visualisation as well as accuracy. Step 2: 2004. Small number of institutions recruit outside state agreed numbers – fraud. 2007, new students record registration system, when students register, data sent to education dept of province to ensure legaility/validity. Dynamic information management of students from enrolment to graduation. Increased efficiency & quality. Now comprehensive system, from entry quals through enrolment to certification. 600 million records; registered 100 million HE certificates awarded in last 22 years. Supports decision making & management – enforce legality, reduce fraud, provides info after disasters. Facilitates distribution of government subsidies.

System of Information Consultation & Verification Service for China HE Students/Ning Xiaohua, Vice Director, CHESICC. 10.96 million people received HE quals in 2012, 3.6 million degrees. 3 verification organisations under MOE: CHESICC (HE study records & quals); CGDGC (degrees); & another doing international degrees. CHESICC = only HEQC verification/enquiry authority. Online enquiry/verification: free self-enquiry by students, also by other registered bodies. Online verification & Guilloche pattern. Easy, low cost, flexible, convenient. Available in English & Chinese, Pinyin translation. Barcode for validation. Demo: input code, get verification report. Can download, print, email. NCEE – National College Entrance Examination. Most important qualification for student selection. Changed to PQE. CHESICC started online enquiry in 2003 during SARS breakout. Data management & enquiries for applicants & colleges. Comprehensive info on colleges, courses, entry requirements etc – ref KIS. Gaokao platform – also covers student satisfaction rates – ref NSS, highly valuable to applicants. Also postgraduate platform. Study abroad: lack of high-quality educational resources in China + higher family income. Media reports of cheating in Chinese student applications – should consider difference in enrolment systems. College enrolment in China is government rather than market-oriented. Foreign colleges should use Chinese system = NCEE scores, online systems. CHESICC will focus on providing better services in this area. Great commitment to enhance cooperation. Informatisation remarkably improves education credit system. Use IT & databases, cheaper, easier, better. 2012: 70m reviews/enquiries, 3m verification reports. % of fake/unrecognised quals recognised in reviews dropped from 25% to 3% over 10 years.

China HE International Exchange Policy/Zong Wa, Vice Secretary General of Chinese Association for International Understanding. Student mobility; joint schools, overseas campuses. Confucius Institute – important international initiative.

The US SPEEDE server & why we expect today’s assembled central SIS to drove global student & skilled worker mobility/Shelby Stanfield, University of Texas at Austin, & Mariana Losada, Amue, France. Mariana: France: very attached to paper & bureaucracy. Studied abroad in 7 countries after starting off in Buenos Aires – so qualified to comment on internationalisation & student mobility! Cosmopolitan ‘bildung’ – self-cultivation. British Council – admin procedures/difficulties are second after cost as reason putting students off studying abroad. Interoperating digital depositories critical to international mobility. Shelby: Standardisation of Postsecondary Education Electronic Data Exchange. Rationale & needs:

  • Efficiency. Digital transfer clearly more efficient than manual. 1996: 729 transcript transfers; now 4m.
  • Standards. Lego illustrates the problem & solution.
  • Accuracy. Greatly reduced margin of error, greater consistency.
  • Reliability. Yes…
  • Authenticity. Yes…
  • Scalability. Technology & standards can meet the demand. Needs open systems architecture.

A big idea who’s time has come?

Taking up the challenge: showcasing the first phase(s) of the current ongoing global pilot of DUO & NSC/Jan Otten/DUO, Rick Torres, President, NSC. NSC: 255m records processed annually, 2.5bn enrolment records, 750m annual verification requests for enrolments & qualifications. NGO, 95% of all enrolled students. How? – services. Compliance (reporting); verification (enrolment, degree, certifocate); electronic data exchange; research (student tracker). Save HE £350m pa. 58% of income from verification services – providers, free, requesters, pay – income from business. DUO: part of Dutch Ministry of Education. Some verifications; StudentLink, national enrolment service. Piloting DUO/NSC verification service for Dutch/US students studying in the other country. Requestor verifies that they have the student’s permission to view the information – student may have blocked access (FERPA). Any student can have access to info on who has requested their information. No data held in other countries system. Jan: connecting diploma registers in Europe. DUO: supporting process of digital enrolment in HE. DigiD to Studielink to DUO, all processed into institutional SIS. Why can’t this process work across Europe? Need data, network & partners. Looked at 5 big scale network projects across EU: all have same building blocks, standards, architecture, semantics. New umbrella project: e-SENS. Looking for partners: must have central register/depository.

The Asia-Pacific Academic Credit & Qualifications Bank. Delivering on digital student data portability/Guillermo Pablo Lopez Andrade, Director-General, Secretaria de Educacio Publica, Mexico.

Non-financial definition of bank: a place where something is stored ready for use. ‘Flying money’ – first bank notes in China; now need ‘flying diplomas’: security, authenticity, stability, exchange, conflict resolution. Exchange: like exchanging money, need transfer equivalence. Place to save Academic credits. Facilitate the safe deposit, secure transfer, & international recognition of Academic credits. Banking analogy is great! Obstacles: in Mexico ‘apostille’ or legalisation process to recognise certificates etc; fraud: trust affected by false credentials; diploma ‘mills’ & accreditation ‘mills’; diversity; quality; lifelong learning. Status: so far only a proposal. Mexican Academic Credit & *RPL Bank – to reintroduce people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs). http://www.rodac.sep.gob.mx. RODAC operational model = triangle – compare with Digitary? ‘The creation of national student data depositories…is not only about efficiency, technology & security; it is also about changing educational concepts & innovating for a better future…’

Video Message: Straddling academic & professional mobility. A case for bringing in central SIS/Pedro Chaves, Principal Adminstrator, Europass, & EQF NCP Manager, European Commission. Free mobility of people, still basic principle. Key obstacle to student mobility: recognition of qualifications from other countries. <How does the HEAR fit in with all this stuff?> Countries outside the EU are considering Europass. European Area for Student Qualifications by 2015, allowing students to register qualifications, comparability of qualifications & skills, easy to use = success. Transparency, comparability & quality of qualifications.

Verification of student records & relevant policies for Chinese students studying abroad/Ming Tingxi, Director of Overseas Academic Credential Evaluation Office from Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange. Supports study abroad, promotes study in China, serves returning scholars & students, facilitates international cooperation & exchange. Verification for international students. Overseas academic credential evaluation.

AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers) Position Statement on Digital Student Data Portability (DSDP)/Mike Reilly. Benefits: trusted source; elimination of fraudulent records; student mobility; business efficiency; environmentally friendly.

EAIE (European Association for International Education) Position Statement/Hans-Georg van Liempd. The European centre for expertise, networking & resources in the internationalisation of HE. Benefits: smoother, faster, more cost effective operations for members. Committed to move from paper to digital; disseminate info electronically; support organisations that can takethe lead in DSDP; to inform members on its importance.

“In theory, practice is like theory; in practice, it is not”

Exchange of Experience. Peter Parmentier/Student Data in Flanders. All data centralised in real time by Flemisch MoE. Bologna process – significant impact; new structure, more flexible etc. Started SOA 2008-2009. Central database has to support new legislation, integration with 3rd parties, support enrolment. Student enrols at institution, HEI uses web service to send info to central systems, 2 way, links to other services: student portal (central), diplomas database = LED, centralises info from diverse parties, supports the labour market, information for citizens. So student accesses info centrally, not via institution. Rosemary Woodger/VETASSESS Australia. Government business enterprise, Assessment-only Registered Training Organisation. Verifies qualifications for immigrants. Approved Chinese organisations can upload documents, get verifications etc all online. VET e- Learning strategy: 2012-2015, to strengthen use of new learning technologies. One initiative = ePortfolios to improve quality & portability of learning information. Includes consideration of data privacy issues. Supports access through APL/APEL, credit transfer etc. http://www.vetassess.com.au. Anna-Lise Lande & Geir Magne Vangen/University of Oslo. The Student Management System FS. Covers all of HE in Norway. New strategy: more digital; national recognition registry; diploma bank. Result owner logs into Diploma Bank via national ID-portal. Mobility: can make a lot of improvements locally, but needs international cooperation. Standards are key. Gabriela Jitaru/Ministry of Education, Research, Youth & Sport, Romania. National student enrolment registry (RMU). Needed: a real image of HE participation; more centralised info to support development; increased visibility of info; consistent data; reliable data; synthesis of national indicators. So needed: integrated system at national level; data transfer/reporting between/from Universities; accurate consistent statistics & reports; interoperability with other systems. The enrolment registries of Universities become part of the central system. Institutions have local RMU component to manage interface. Data published in RMU portal. Prateek Mohan/CDSL, India. Central Depository Services Ltd. NAD – National Academic Depository. Diploma bank. Very similar to Digitary/DARE. http://www.nad.co.in.

Discussion Panel. What have panellists got from the day? Very relevant, good time to work together. Informative. A lot of work to be done. Common goal: digital student data portability. Learned a lot. Can make it very difficult for students to be mobile; need to make it easy. DSDP can help. Centralised systems may not be possible (eg Europe) – in which case need excellent interoperability. Governance: how do we set & communicate the rules. Comment on Groningen Declaration: should be as open as possible to start with, to encourage participation. Go back to your country & tell your government how important DSDP is, & get them to engage! Committee – thinking of 4 task forces. 1. Communication – everyone. 2. Find helpers – everyone. 3. Preparing business cases. 4. Data exchange/standards. Flagships in sync – let’s sync our flagships (not sink them…) 3 pilots: DUO & NSC; USA & Mexico; Netherlands & Belgium. Next meeting, this time next year, USA.

Last day/Note – visit to CHESICC offices. Liked the look of the colour coded nationwide map display of student registrations, updated in real-time.