About a year ago, Ashwin (name changed), a friend of mine, had the most horrid experience of his life. He had secured high score in GRE, was selected for a prestigious US university and was all set to fly high and far. There was a small issue, the university he applied for, asked for a transcript for his degree. As it turned out, his institute didn’t have a transcription facility. So they directed him to the University. The university had a single point of contact for the transcript services and that person was on leave for a week.
My friend went nuts and ran around every possible place before somehow managing to get it done, well, just about in the nick of time.
Such problems are frequent in India. It is particularly common for those bright students who studied in India and then managed to bag scholarships abroad. Higher education aside, there are other reasons too when one might need education verification services. Suppose you want to check the background of your employee. Or, something more delicate, like checking the background of a prospective groom. Now how do you go about that?
What is absent?
Now most of the universities have started maintaining online records of their students. However, development of the system and implementation going forward will be fast but retrospectively will take time, they have a huge data to transfer from the old system to the new online model. So, a unified, centralized educational database will still be absent. Yes, you can go to the universities and check the old records, but there are hurdles associated with that. Thanks to the endless sinewy protocols in Indian academic institutes, it can take a long time for the university authorities to find and verify the record you are looking for.
What is the solution?
Now, what could be the solution for this problem? The universities themselves can take the step and solve the issue by creating a centralized, online database. To curb the malpractice of fake degrees, the universities can issue smart cards to students. Students can provide their smart card number to the prospective employer or foreign universities for reconfirmation. Additionally, the Indian universities should come together to set up the equivalent of National Student Clearinghouse in USA. This would go a very long way in streamlining the education verifications.