I must say, sometimes these bits of investigative journalism by the Star turn out interesting results. The recent probe into bogus degrees for example. It's only peripherally interesting for me to know about the people who want to sell them (though it's interesting that Google the website of Isles International University and you get a picture of Big Ben!) - what's more fascinating is the people who buy them and then get shocked when they find out that it's not for real.
And what's their response when the little light bulb goes off (and explodes)? That the convocation ceremony was real! Not a mention whether the education was real, not once. And therein lies the crux of the issue, with people thinking that it's about certification and ceremony, and not whether at the end of the day you have a little more rolling around upstairs. There are plenty of stories about pictures of convocation ceremonies with deputy ministers (who obviously aren't too bright themselves), and money gone down the drain, but no complaints about how this could be when I spent so much time in classrooms, pouring countless hours to produce a academically worthy thesis...
You can pity them, I guess, in the sense that you pity anyone who was taken for a ride. But somehow I don't really have much sympathy for these people who essentially thought that money could allow them to cut the cue - putting their quick-and-easy degrees ahead in interviews with others who actually spent time and energy towards getting theirs. So if some of them are worried about their jobs, well, good. Because chances are if it was that piece of paper which got you the job, someone else probably deserved it more.
The real lesson though is that the letters at the end of ones name are only good as an indicator of the intellectual strength of the person. Whatever degree it is, exists as a yardstick to what one has learned, and how useful one can be with that knowledge.
One particular case in the Star:
"Vernon, who works in the hospitality sector, said that he found out about the university from a booth the institution had set up at a Tesco outlet."
Poor man. I could have told him, you can't get a degree... at Tesco.