Kenya’s Nairobi Aviation College is allegedly selling professional diplomas and certificates for rock-bottom prices, according to an investigation by Kenyan channel NTV. The network exposed the pay-for-diploma scam in a documentary sensationally titled “Certificates of Doom.” Angry students from the Nairobi Aviation College stormed the NTV building on Monday, claiming the channel’s reports would ruin their future by devaluing their diplomas.
The college offers courses including Cargo Skills and Procedures, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Airline Cabin Crew Duties and Aircraft Maintenance. Analyzing LinkedIn for personal profiles claiming qualification from Nairobi Aviation College turned up people working in Africa and Europe as local flight dispatchers, electrical engineers and logistics experts—some of them for foreign airlines and airport operators.
The online backlash to the documentary fed into a broader conversation about false credentials in Kenya in general. Prominent blogger Robert Alai was accused of trying to prevent the film from airing, something he freely admitted, pointing to the fact that it was commonplace for politicians to attempt to boost their credibility with false degrees.
The hashtag #CertificatesOfDoom quickly trended on Kenyan social media. Many Kenyans are posting sarcastic and critical messages against the aviation college and its students, while others believe the college is just one of many local schools engaging in this type of fraud. Officials from the International Civil Aviation Organization will meet in Montreal this week to discuss efforts to prevent planes from vanishing off the radar.