Easy education: How to spot a fake school

A little research can save your life, your career and your hard earned money!

Khurram Zahid May 08, 2011
It is not so hard to to attain a student visa for the United Kingdom nowadays and go there for higher education with a dream of becoming rich. Indeed the process has now become very easy - even students who have just completed 12 years of education get admissions in universities in the UK.

The UK earns nearly $1.8 billion annually from international students, most of these are from Asia.

A pertinent question here is: does every university in the UK provide quality education and are all properly accredited?


According to research conducted by a UK based background screening company in 2011, the UK is Europe’s capital in terms of fake universities. There are nearly 339 bogus institutions operating across the country. This is still much less than the United States of America (USA), where nearly 1,008 known ‘diploma mills’ are churning out students every year. Since last year, the total number of these mills increased by 48 per cent.

Many students, mostly due to their lack of information, become victim to these 'diploma mills,' and after spending thousands of dollars they learn that their degrees and diplomas are worth nothing at all - not in the UK or their in their own country. Multinationals and local giants actively conduct verification of qualifications of job candidates. They verify two things – one, if the degree or diploma has actually been awarded by the stated university and two, whether this university is legitimate.

I suggest that before applying for a foreign degree, students conduct some research. There are some good online sources available where you can check the legitimacy of an institute. Several countries’ unaccredited universities classification database should also be searched for this purpose.

Furthermore, the following signs can be helpful in spotting a bogus institute:

1. Bogus institutes have names similar to well reputed universities.

2. Websites of diploma mills are poorly designed and have plagiarised body content, copied from a websites of renowned institutions.

3. Real universities have regulated internet domains used by higher education institutions such as “.edu” for the USA, “.ac.uk” for the UK etcetera, whereas the diploma mills are hosted on misleading domains like “.ac”, “.co.uk” or “.com”.

4. Bogus universities are limited to email addresses and/or a phone number as points of contact. They are often ambiguous and unclear about their physical location.

5. Fake institutions showcase accreditation with educational bodies which are very hard to find.

A little research can save your life, your career and your hard earned money!
Khurram Zahid Head of online marketing at a background screening company in Pakistan, Khurram spends most of his time on social networking sites for business - not pleasure
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Khurram Zahid | 12 years ago | Reply Thank you guys for all your good comments. I always try to bring something that can help individuals at micro level eventually help masses at macro level.
Lusy | 12 years ago | Reply Good information. Nice blog. Keep going on...
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