IMAGINE the hundreds of students in various universities and colleges around the country who are studying very hard to secure their future.
Also imagine the sacrifice many parents and guardians are making to send their children and dependants to universities and colleges, including the colossal millions Government and non-governmental organisations are spending on the vulnerable students to help them fulfil their dreams.
Parents, guardians, Government and NGOs know what it would mean to not be qualified.
The country has become very competitive.
To get a well-paying job, one needs to be educated because lack of post-secondary school education has serious consequences for the country, families and communities.
It therefore beats logic when some people decide to fast track their way to employment by faking qualifications and getting jobs at the expense of people who have spent years in the higher education system.
These frauds are earning a fortune from Government, NGOs and private sector.
The revelation by the Teaching Council of Zambia about hundreds of teachers who have been living off fake qualifications is an eye-opener.
It is evident that it is not just teachers involved in this scam.
There are several employees out there holding jobs they do not deserve on account of having fake qualifications when people with genuine and verifiable education credentials are roaming the streets.
We are glad that Government has taken interest in the matter.
Vice-President Inonge Wina told Parliament yesterday that Government has introduced quality assurance in the civil service to detect individuals who enter the service with forged certificates.
Mrs Wina says quality assurance will go in all government ministries and departments to ensure that those who are recruited in the civil service have relevant qualifications in line with the job they are given.
It is time to address the issue of fake qualifications.
The country can no longer keep quiet and allow the cancer to grow.
Revelations by the TCZ may tempt some students to think that it is a waste of time to gain education legitimately.
We agree with Mrs Wina that forging of certificates is really undermining the development of the country because the people who use such documents may not qualify to do the work they are given.
We are delighted that the issue of forging of certificates will be dealt with immediately as it is a danger to both the security and development of the country.
All persons found guilty of forging certificates should be subjected to public service disciplinary processes as well to criminal proceedings.
People who are holding forged certificates should realise that they are carrying a ticking time bomb which will go off in their faces soon.
Going forward, the country should make recruitment procedures more stringent.
Since some people can be employed dubiously as they report for work they should be requested to submit their credentials which should be verified again and copies sent to all relevant offices for reverification.