Edition 81 - January 2008

Buyer beware in Britain

A BBC London investigation has exposed an international education scam targeted at foreign students. The Irish International University (IIU) has been selling unaccredited, substandard degrees for at least seven years. Even though the institution has never been granted accreditation, educational visas have been issued to foreign students to enter Britain. Students were admitted to IIU exams at private colleges in London. The illusion was created by an impressive website and IIU’s frequent use of Oxbridge facilities for award ceremonies. The IIU website also claimed that its programmes were accredited by the QAC-UK Ltd - the London-based Quality Assurance Commission. The name of the commission turned out to be an anagram for QUACK, as it was as fictitious as the IIU itself.

Oxford University has stated that the IIU will not be permitted to rent its facilities in the future. The British Government has assured that by 2009 all UK colleges that enroll overseas applicants in the country will be required to obtain official accreditation.

It goes to show that what is true in life may be true for education, too: looks can be deceiving.

BBC News

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