‘Fake’ colleges

Today this blog is coming to you from Yorkshire. I am just on a brief visit to England, and one of the major news items right now concerns the alleged use of ‘fake’ higher education institutions as a cover for migrants to the UK whose main objectives are to carry out terrorist actions. Leaving aside the specific circumstances of these concerns and allegations, there clearly is an important issue which, in a global setting, has never been properly addressed: how can we distinguish between reputable universities and colleges on the one hand, and those that are suspect on the other?

And it is not just a UK issue. In Ireland we have had occasional news stories about institutions claiming to be universities or accredited institutions that in fact either don’t properly ‘exist’ at all or which are not serious education providers. Sometimes such organisations claim to be respected Irish colleges, despite the fact that some of them list addresses elsewhere. Examples of institutions whose credentials have been seriously questioned are ‘Dublin Metropolitan University‘, and ‘Warnborough College‘.

But beyond that, there are also organisations that openly hand out fake degrees, even advertising them as such. For example this website offers fake degrees, some of them ostensibly awarded by Irish universities and colleges. 

As higher education becomes more globalised, there is an increasing flow of migrant students considering higher education opportunities in countries where, unassisted, they have no easy way of distinguishing between respectable and fake institutions. This is not a problem that individual countries can resolve. The Irish government may be disturbed by institutions like the two listed above, but neither of them is actually based in Ireland, and so they cannot easily be restrained. It will therefore be necessary to have coordinated international action to ensure that verifiable quality standards are satisfied before any institution can advertise itself as a bona fide higher education institution, and the use of the title ‘university’  and the awarding of qualifications described as ‘degrees’ should in particular be controlled. Unless this is done, genuine universities may find themselves being questioned because of the activities of bogus institutions.

Explore posts in the same categories: higher education, university

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