UAE ministry warns against fake online degrees

UAE ministry warns against fake online degreesAbu Dhabi: The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research on Tuesday warned UAE residents about online universities that sell fake degrees and urged government departments and private companies to vet degrees of their employees.

Recently, Pakistan-based IT company Axact was exposed for allegedly operating hundreds of fake online universities from its headquarters in Karachi, making hundreds of millions of dollars by selling fake degrees.

Gulf News interviewed Yasir Jamshaid, the whistleblower who exposed Axact’s entire operation in May. He said these universities particularly targeted GCC residents, many of whom were from the UAE. Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) raided the company’s headquarters last month and arrested Shoaib Shaikh, CEO and owner of Axact.

On Tuesday, Saif Al Mazroui, Adviser to Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, warned residents about fake degrees issued by fake virtual institutions. Addressing a press conference in the capital, he said people should be cautious about the negative effects of these fake universities and degrees.

Dr Mohammad Al Baili, Provost of UAE University, said these universities don’t stop at selling certificates. They also blackmail their victims by pretending to be officials and threaten to expose people for having fake degrees if they don’t pay extra fees for attestation.

Al Mazroui said that people who obtain these certificates may have wrongly assumed senior managerial positions based on these qualifications.

For this reason, he called on all governmental and private companies to ask for certificate equivalency from their employees.

He also said all countries suffer from this problem which he linked to the growth in higher education, urging international regulatory organisations and countries to stamp out such fake institutions.

Unesco has also warned of universities which claimed to be accredited by Unesco, saying that they are not an academic-accrediting authority. The GCC ministers of higher education on the other hand called on accreditation committees to remain alert on this issue and to take necessary action.

The ministry also advised people who wish to study abroad or online to make sure that the institutions are accredited.

To view recommended websites by the Ministry of Higher Education and scientific research visit: http://www.mohesr.gov.ae/En/E-Services/Pages/Electronic_Recommended_Institute.aspx

Article Source : Gulf News

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