Officials at state universities in Cairo say that under the Presidents Sadat (1970-81) and Mubarak (1981-2011) regimes, a number of local and foreign politicians, influential figures and their associates who had never studied at the university were given "fake" bachelor's degree certificate.

Issuance of fake degrees ordered by influential politicians

A veteran Egyptian journalist who has contributed to articles for Egypt's major national newspapers and other Arab media says that "If an influential Egyptian politician tells the President of the university to award a degree to someone, then the President of the university will order his staff to produce a graduate certificate or a diploma. The staff also falsifies the academic transcripts (transcript of grades for each subject) and ensures the forged document looks genuine."

Asked if that meant that the university bows to the pressure of politicians he gave a wryly smile and said "They do not need pressure. This is common in Egypt. It's just handled clerically".

Campus of Cairo University from the building of Faculty of Arts (photo by Ryo Kuroki)

Similar testimony was obtained elsewhere. A Cairo-based journalist, who is a graduate of Cairo University's Faculty of Mass Communication points out that a number of "fake degree certificates" were issued under the Sadat and Mubarak regimes.

An Egyptian who is an engineering graduate of Cairo University says "It is possible to get a diploma from Egyptian state universities if you have money and the right connection. For example, if a student has connections to prominent people in Japan, then the management of the university may speak to the Egyptian government and decide that issuing the degree certificate may work favorably to improve the relationship between Japan and Egypt .

A media researcher in Cairo says that "If a politician says 'Issue a degree certificate to this person', then the university will handle the matter automatically and issues a fake degree certificate. There is no doubt about it".