Reports that the police are investigating 60 students at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) for allegedly gaining access to the institution on the basis of fraudulent certificates are quite worrying.
At least 22 of these students have already appeared in court charged with forgery.
They are accused of forging their Cambridge Overseas School Certificates to gain entry at the elite institution of higher learning.
Some of the students are also accused of fraudulently acquiring scholarships from the National Manpower Development
The shocking report that we carry in this issue merely reflects our concern that our society is now in the grip of a corruption epidemic.
This is now threatening to undermine the very fabric of society.
We seem to have surrendered our souls to the god of lust and now firmly believe that nothing gets done unless a palm is greased.
This is a national tragedy.
Our students are paying bribes to gain entry into university.
They are paying bribes to get a pass mark.
The whole system appears completely rotten.
It needs a complete overhaul.
We believe something drastic must be done urgently to fix this crisis.
We would like to believe there is a criminal syndicate that is behind the production of these fake certificates.
Unless this syndicate is smashed we will continue to have this problem for the foreseeable future.
The fake certificate scandal gnaws at the very heart of our education system.
It threatens the very future of our nation.
No one will trust our certificates and degrees.
But the authenticity of our qualifications must be beyond doubt.
However this cannot be the case when students sneak into university using fake qualifications.
When students fraudulently sneak into university on the basis of fake certificates it simply means the university will churn out poor quality graduates.
Such graduates are a danger to the future of this country.
The fake certificates scandal will likely result in foreign universities subjecting our students to rigorous tests when they seek to pursue further studies outside our borders, which is unnecessary.
Will anti-corruption legislation which we already have on our statute books work to curb corruption?
We believe legislation alone might not be enough.
We need bigger campaigns to educate our people, particularly the young ones, of the dangers of corruption.
Stiffer sentences might also work to dissuade would-be offenders.
This is the reason why we differ with the Democratic Congress’ MPs who have been calling for Limkokwing University of Creative Technology students who were arrested over the same charges to be given a second chance?
A second chance for what?
That these students will face a bleak future cannot be denied.
But they put themselves in a fix in the first place.
We cannot understand on what basis the MPs are appealing for mercy?
When these students are convicted and punished accordingly, this will serve as an example to any would-be criminals.
They will think twice before dabbling in criminal activities.
This cancer must be stopped.
The fake certificates scandal is not coming at a time when Lesotho’s education system is enjoying a clean bill of health.
We know it is going through turbulent times.
The recent change in syllabus was spawn by a realisation that our education system was hopelessly outdated.
Until fairly recently we had many unregistered schools which were offering sub-standard education.
We cannot afford to go through another crisis.