Alex, I understand some of your points. But I can't agree with you on all. You suggested "hundreds of assignment", do you think any company is going to do that for exam takers ?
We are living in a real industry world, not a academic circle. Certificate is always just a certificate, if you expect too much from it, then you overexpected it yourself, unless SUN really wants to create such a "hundreds assignemns" for people. But that's impossible, Sun needs to make money from it still. So, be realistic. Plus, even SUN makes it for people, what if people hire somebody else to do the project ? Do you think SUN should provide a one-month "exam camp" to let people do the assignment in a SUN designated site.
Otherwise, I think it is terrible to have somebody hire another person and pass that "hundred assignment".
So, my point is --- don't expect too much from SCEA. Sun is never going to design your type of assignments for you, like any company, making money is their first priority.