Mzumbe dons in PhD scam PIUS RUGONZIBWA, 11th February 2009 @ 11:16 Eight senior lecturers with the Mzumbe University have doctorate degrees that are either fake or acquired from institutions that lack internationally accepted accreditation, the Tanzania Commission of Universities (TCU) said today. TCU Executive Secretary, Prof Mayunga Nkunya, said in an interview that it was recently established that some dons at the Morogoro-based varsity held questionable degrees. He said verification of the degrees was carried out after widespread public complaints on the authenticity of the degrees. The matter was also repeatedly raised in the National Assembly. Prof Nkunya said TCU has already communicated its findings to the government for further action. He cautioned the public to be careful with some foreign institutions and individuals who were of late increasingly peddling undergraduate and graduate around the world. The TCU chief said he was aware that some degrees were selling at around 2,000 US dollars (about 2.7m/-) and above. He said such offers were often being made online. "It is ridiculous that these people are even sending a lot of e-mails to me, asking me to take part in the deals. I have received many such offers," he said. He, however, declined to name the universities, local agents and individuals involved in the academic scam. "We need to gather all the facts on the transactions, otherwise they may sue us," he cautioned further. Prof Nkunya warned members of the academic staff in institutions of higher learning against pursuing online courses, including degrees from unknown universities. He also doubted the competency of online graduates in the world of research and academia, where they would need skills of impacting knowledge to their students. "Such lecturers cannot do research professionally. They cannot teach well their students and help them become good researchers," he pointed out. Prof Nkunya said further that apart from the higher learning institutions, the problem of fake degrees was rampant in other organisations, saying TCU recently discovered five other fake doctorate degrees. He said there were proposals to amend the Universities Act, to give more teeth to TCU deal with proven culprits including prosecution.