The Jakarta Post
In response to a recent report filed by the Research and Technology and Higher Education Ministry against a higher education institution for issuing fake degrees, the National Police said it would crack down on the practice.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Anton Charliyan said Thursday that a preliminary analysis by the ministry suggested that the Jakarta-based International Management Institution of Indonesia (LMII) had been selling degrees to students for high prices.
'There is an indication that the degrees were being bought and sold for between Rp 20 million (US$1,514) and Rp 50 million. We are currently investigating whether or not classes were actually held [at the LMII] or if they even had a campus,' he told reporters.
Last week, during an unannounced inspection of the LMII in Central Jakarta, Research and Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir said the institution had only secured a permit for conducting a short course.
This meant, Nasir said, that all degrees that have been issued by the institution were illegal.
The institution, which claims to be a branch of the University of Berkley in Michigan, the US, had been operating for the past 10 years, offering undergraduate and graduate coursework online.
However, the programs from the LMII have been listed as illegitimate by the states of Michigan and Texas.
On Tuesday, Minister Nasir officially filed a report against the LMII and handed over several documents to the police as evidence.
Nasir said the LMII had violated the 2003 National Education System (Sisdiknas) Law and the 2012 Higher Education Law by issuing degrees without a permit.
The 2003 National Education Law stipulates that those who issue, help issue, or use fake degrees will face a maximum prison sentence of five years or a fine of Rp 500 million.
Anton said the police had been investigating reports that some lawmakers had received fake degrees. However, results have so far been inconclusive.
Earlier this week, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Komarudin Watubun acknowledged he had been awarded a degree from the University of Berkley.
He defended himself by saying he had not used the academic title during his professional life.
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) lawmaker Sohibul Iman, a deputy chairman for the House of Representatives' Commission X overseeing education, youth affairs and sports, supported the government's move to crack down on what he called a long-standing fraudulent practice.
'This issue has been going on for many years but has never received serious attention from the authorities. It is time for the government to fully eradicate it,' he said.
Sociologist Musni Umar from Jakarta-based Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN), said the acceptance of a fake degree resulted from the wrong perception of academic tittles.
'Some people are willing to buy fake diplomas for economic motives, like for moving up the corporate ladder, while others do it for political motives, like garnering support and respect from voters [during elections],' he said.
'That's why law enforcement alone is not enough. We need to alter people's mindsets as well to fully end the practice.'
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