Lahore, 29th December: PTI’s Usman Dar, the current Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, is found to be having a dubious MBA degree after the Department for Education of the United Kingdom said that it does not recognize the university.
Baaghi TV: According to reports, Britain’s Department for Education has said that it doesn’t recognize the Schiller International University (SIU), which issued a masters degree to PTI’s Muhammad Usman Dar in 1997 in London.
Dar, in his nomination papers for 2013 general elections, declared to have received the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Schiller International University, London in 1997.
In November 2017, Schiller International University was found to be a degree mill and Dar’s MBA degree was found to be dubious.
However, Dar did not declare his MBA degree in his nomination papers for 2018 elections and only mentioned his graduation degree from the University of Punjab.
According to an article published in The News in November 2017, UK’s Department for Education said that it didn’t recognize or evaluate the degrees issued by the SIU and had no partnership with any UK university at the time it issued the degrees till the Schiller shut itself down in 2011.
A study of the SIU shows that it is similar to the Axact type educational institution which exists in their hundreds across the United States of America (UA) and issues degrees to students as long as the right amount of fees is paid.
Usman Dar’s degree certificate states that “Upon the recommendation of the Faculty, Schiller International University has conferred upon M. Usman Dar Master of Business Administration in International Business with all the Rights, Honors and Privileges belonging to that Degree.
In witness, thereof this Diploma has been issued. It carries signature by “University President”, Florida, and issued by the “London Campus”. It says the University is incorporated in the State of Florida, USA.
It is noteworthy that the body which accredited SIU in the United States namely the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) is no longer recognized by the US Department of Education due to its low standards. ACICS is notorious in America for accrediting Axact style institutions and visa mills.
The British Accreditation Council (BAC) said in a statement that it had nothing to do with the accreditation of Schiller International University London in the year of 1997 and that it was never accredited to issue degrees and certificates.
The BAC spokesman said, “The accreditation was of Schiller International University – London campus – for period 2003 -2011. The accreditation did not include accreditation of their courses/programmes. During the accreditation period, I believe their programmes were validated by their US campus (which was recognised by the CHEA).”
Interestingly, an insider at the Schiller University confirmed that its degrees have no value in the UK and that its London Campus is nothing more than a post office where degrees and certificates were given to students who paid hefty fees and didn’t attend classes or attended only show-piece classes.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) confirmed that it didn’t recognise SIU and never knew about its existence in the UK.
Similarly, Prospects UK, a UK government-linked educational body, said that its records showed that Schiller University was never listed in the UK as an educational institution. The spokesman informed that the SIU was never part of the “listed bodies” or recognised educational institutions.
The News had also reported that papers seen by these correspondents show that in 2011, the university announced to shut down its UK campus completely, complaining that 80-85% of its students originated from non-European Union countries and needed student visas to study but the UK government has placed tighter restrictions on student visas.
A spokesman for UK’s Department for Education said that in 1997 in UK educational establishments student attended classes 3-5 days a week for around two years to be eligible to get masters degrees.
However, he didn’t confirm or deny whether Usman Dar attended the classes and whether the campus had running classes at all around that period. He said the Schiller International University didn’t approve of the UK Department of Education because they do not give UK awards.
When PTI’s Sialkot leader Usman Dar was contacted in 2017, he acknowledged that he had also developed some doubts about his degree and has asked the Higher Education Commission to verify it.
He said, “At the time of obtaining my degree, I did not know it was a dubious university as there were so many overseas students studying at this university but recently I have started to re-check my degree and I am sending it to HEC for verification.”
Dar also informed that he had not obtained the degree for securing a job. “I only wanted to get some exposure as I run my own business and I don’t need any job.”
He claimed that he attended classes five days a week and completed all the five-semester for the degree. “I completed two-semester in Germany and three in the United Kingdom”.
Dar was also aware that SIU had closed its campus in London in 2010 saying they were forced to close the campus owing to the immigration problems as most of their students were from overseas.
On asking why he opted an American University while studying in England, he said, “I was in Germany, and I wanted to study in an English institute, so I registered with SIU as they promised to allow me to study in England for my next semesters.”
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