Malaysia plans to fight fake degrees by using blockchain to verify university certs

Degree fraud compromises the reputation of Malaysian universities, and puts genuine graduates at a disadvantage, the education ministry said.

Malaysian universities will use the power of blockchain to foil the plans of those trying to score jobs with fake degrees.

To combat the “staggering trade” in fake degrees available off the internet, the country will implement a blockchain-based e-Scroll system to issue and verify certificates, the education ministry announced in a statement last Friday (Nov 9).

Six universities – Universiti Utara Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Universiti Teknologi Mara and the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) – have formed a consortium to study and develop the tech involved, the ministry said.

It added that the final tech should have the potential to generate revenue for member universities.

“Currently, Malaysian universities receive thousands of requests globally to verify their genuine graduates. Such verification is still largely done via telephone and emails, which contributes to its inefficiency,” the ministry said in a statement.

IIUM, the current head of the consortium, has already developed a version of this degree verification tech, and has embedded the degree certificates of its newest cohort of PhD graduates – whose convocation took place on Saturday (Nov 10) – into the blockchain.

Scanning a QR code printed on the certs allows their authenticity to be verified instantly, as long as an internet connection is available.

The ministry said that it chose blockchain for its security and efficiency in executing authenticity checks.