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January 11, 2014

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Illegal trade in diplomas for non-locals

ILLEGAL agents are claiming they can obtain diplomas and skills certificates for non-locals who hope to get their children into the city’s education system.

Qualifications entitle parents to points in a government grading system introduced last July.

Under the scheme, non-local children can attend the city’s high schools and sit college entrance exams provided their parents amass 120 points.

But many migrant workers fail to meet the score due to having only a basic education and lacking skills, creating opportunities for fraudsters.

“As long as you are willing to spend, we will help you reach the score in a short time,” said Liu Kui, manager of Jinke Educational Consulting Co.

The agency provides educational diplomas and technical skills certificates, which can boost scores quickly.

Migrant workers aged 46 or younger receives 30 points. But a bachelor’s degree or a national second-grade technical skills certificate brings 90 points — enough to reach the 120 mark.

The company said a bachelor’s degree costs about 50,000 yuan (US$8,260).

A second-grade technical skills certificate costs about 150,000 yuan because the agent needs to find someone to take the exam. It takes from six to eight months, said Liu.

But if the client wants to get the required points urgently, Liu suggested a speedier way.

“The quickest way is to marry a local man or woman. We have many resources which can save you a lot of time and energy,” Liu told Shanghai Daily.

Liu said setting up a bogus marriage takes three months and costs 120,000 yuan.

He said he has helped more than 20 non-locals to achieve 120 points by buying them certificates since last July.

Liu’s agency is not alone. Online advertisements from agencies boasting that they can buy diplomas for non-locals abound on the Internet.

Shanghai Daily contacted some and found most of the diplomas on offer are for distance learning courses.

“Our degree is genuine and certified by the Ministry of Education,” said a teacher with the Shanghai Lizhi Education Information Consulting Co in Changning District.

The teacher said students can learn online and need only attend final exams. The cost is about 23,000 yuan.

The Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau said there are strict processes for verifying certificates.

Anyone caught making a fraudulent application is banned from applying for three years and fined up to 50,000 yuan.


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