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Oman identifies 39 fake universities worldwide
June 8, 2019 | 9:26 PM
by Times News Service
 
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Muscat: Oman’s Ministry of Higher Education has put 39 names on a blacklist of fake universities in an attempt to stop students from mistakenly applying to them.

These ‘universities’ are present only online, and exist to cheat people out of their hard-earned money in exchange for fake degrees unrecognised by official bodies,

66 per cent of the fake universities claimed to be listed in the US, making it the location of choice the bogus universities used while trying to lure students. A total of 26 fake universities have US locations, a further seven are in India, and another six universities are distributed across other nations.

An official from the ministry said: “Whenever the Ministry receives applications for the accreditation of certificates from abroad and it is clear that they are issued by a fake university, the name of the university is added to the list of fake universities.”



The names of the fake universities in the US are Kingsbridge University, Corllins University, Columbus University, University of Atlanta, Baytown University, South Creek University, The American University of London, the American University of Hawaii and the Atlantic International University.

In 2018, the ministry uncovered 20 cases of people who had fake certificates. Since 1975 more than 1,250 cases of fake qualifications have been put in front of the Ministry of Higher Education.



“In case of the discovery of a fake certificate, the ministry will address the public prosecution and address the Ministry of Civil Service, the Ministry of Manpower and the Manpower Registry, and then notify the employer of the certificate holder,” the ministry official added. An educator in Oman also told Times of Oman what to look out for when it came to looking up fake universities, so that they would know that the university in question was genuine.

“These universities take your details, take your money, and then you never see either the university or the money again,” said Dr Saqib Ali, head of the department of Information Systems at Sultan Qaboos University’s College of Economics and Political Science.

“To identify fake universities, normally, you do things the other way around: you have to check the legitimacy of the registered universities. In the United States, for example, you have something called the QR rankings where all the legitimate universities are ranked.

“Then, you need to look at the profiles of these universities and their faculty details as well,” he added.

“Do a bit of homework by going to Google and look at the scientific contributions these universities are doing, looking up their physical locations, as well as their rankings on international forums. There are multiple factors you can use to determine the standing of a university and verify its existence.

He also advised students and their parents to enquire with Oman’s Ministry of Higher Education regarding the nature of universities if they found something suspicious.

“The Ministry of Higher Education has a list of accredited universities, because the ministry does check if the university in question is accredited, so if you do have any doubts, you can go to the ministry and they will help you,” he explained.

Dr Saqib Ali also said he provided advice to people at SQU regarding addressing students over universities that they felt weren’t genuine. “They do come for career guidance, which deals with what we are going to do and how we are going to do it,” he said.

“We only consider the top-ranked universities for our students. We never consider any university which is not ranked. We would never recommend a university that is not ranked. As a university ourselves, we would never recommend another university that is not accredited or ranked globally.

MIT or Oxford

“When you hear certain names like MIT, or Oxford, or Monash University, you know these are renowned names, so if someone wants to do his studies in a particular country, we will recommend the best universities for them,” added Ali.

“If someone comes to us and suggests a non-ranked university, then we will not recommend them go there. We also have several Memorandums of Understanding and Memorandums of Agreement with other universities so that we can send our students there.”

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