Skip to main content

Discover Martin’s story and the importance of protecting academic integrity

Advanced Secure Technologies has opened a new branch and office in Cape Town, South Africa.

We are already the biggest player in Southern Africa, with more than 30% of the student market by headcount through our university partners.

By setting up a dedicated branch and physical office we can offer a better service to our partners in the region.

Key to this will be Martin Hall, our new non-executive director. Martin is an internationally renowned academic who was most recently Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Cape Town.

Martin was previously Vice Chancellor at Salford University and Chairman of JISC, which he led through a digital transformation.

We spoke to Martin about his new role at Advanced Secure Technologies.

How did you get involved with Advanced Secure Technologies?

I finished my contract as Vice Chancellor at Salford University at the end of 2015 and moved back to South Africa. I have my own consulting firm, working in a broad range of areas within education. I was asked to go back in a temporary capacity to the University of Cape Town to act as a Deputy Vice Chancellor for a year.

Part of my brief was to fix the problem they had with the efficiency of the distribution of degree certificates. We were sending out 30,000 qualifications a year by post, but many were coming back undelivered. Students were angry and it was very costly.

We knew we had to implement a digital certification service. Advanced Secure won the tender and my task was to help bring them on board, which is how I got to know Kevin and Georgina. After six months they approached me and asked me to join because it was aligned to what I was already doing.

What do you think of Advanced Secure Technologies and the work we do?

It is especially important and needed. The point of a degree or qualification is that it is earned.

One UK university ended up closing because of degree fraud. If you got your degree there, you are now stuck with a qualification from a university with a tarnished reputation. It really matters. That is the point of Advanced Secure and its mission to stop fraud. It is not just a tech company doing a bit of obscure work behind the scenes, it is protecting academic integrity for everybody, higher and further education institutions, future employers, and students.

Why is academic integrity so important?  

Getting a qualification is a lifetime investment. People with qualifications live longer, are healthier, and have lower levels of mental illness. Although employment statistics within six or twelve months of graduation may appear discouraging, they improve significantly when viewed five- or ten-years post-graduation. Students will often receive pay off for their degrees much later down the line and that is why academic integrity is so important in the long term.

Associating yourself with a piece of paper might not seem very much at the time, but it is stuck with you. The credibility of the organisation that you got it from is crucial, and you do not want it tainted and devalued by fraud. The angriest people about degree fraud are the students.

Degree fraud is incredibly prevalent, much more than people are aware. In the US, out of the 96,000 people who claim a PhD every year, only 46,000 are genuine. The rest are fraudulent or purchased. They are either straight copies or from made-up universities. It is much harder to make up a university in the UK, but it is still very prevalent. It is out there, and it is growing.

With AI (Artificial Intelligence), you can make perfect copies of anything. That is why it is more important than ever that there is a system like Advanced Secure in place for verifying qualifications to prevent fraud.

About Martin Hall

Martin Hall is a British-South African academic and educationalist who has written extensively on South African history, culture, and higher education policy. He completed his bachelor’s degree in archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge University in 1974, and his PHD in archaeology at Cambridge in 1980.

Selected CV

2014-Present – Emeritus Professor, University of Cape Town

2021-2022 – Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Town

2015-2019 – Advisor, JISC

2009-2015 – Vice Chancellor, University of Salford

Protect your valued documents

Enquire today to find out how we can secure your certification documents and processes.

Contact us