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Published by Afterschool.my on May 03, 2018, 07:35 am
Is your education accredited or a sham? Have you fallen prey to the dodgy 'degree mill' business? A degree mill is, in short, a phony university that sells college diplomas and transcripts (the actual papers) rather than the college experience.
Isles International University (IIU) has reportedly been scamming foreign students since it began running almost 20 years ago. The 'executive president' and founder of the university, Hardeep Singh Sandhu, 54, has been identified by news media as a Malaysian businessman who lives in Kuala Lumpur. According to Verifile and Accredibase, Singh is also a professor.
Despite using different names (Irish International University and European International University, to name a few) and questionable addresses as well as a rather over-the-top faculty hailing from KL to Monaco, the ‘university’ has managed to scam at least 5,000 students worldwide on top of thousands of graduates with an income of €115,000 in the past year.
Apart from using the registered trademark symbol (®) in its name despite never appearing in the list of accredited universities, it also helps that the ‘university’ mainly offers online or distance learning courses, and therefore no physical or face-to-face teaching is conducted.
To further expose the university’s fraudulence, the address to its ‘campus’ provided on the website leads practically nowhere—unless you count a post box in a suburb in Dublin as a ‘campus’. The name of university is legally protected, so the group are registered under the name ‘Institud Idirnaiseuinta na hEireann den Aontas Eorpach’ instead.
In fact, its attempt at making itself look legitimate is so poor that if you search ‘Isles International University’ on Google, the address displayed leads to business district Phileo Damansara in Selangor.
IIU claims that its qualifications are backed by the ‘Quality Assurance Commission’ of the United Kingdom. However, the QAC is simply another company name registered in the UK by the Malaysian businessman Singh to a post box in Wales.
Facing the consequences
Of course, the concept of unaccredited universities or ‘degree mills’ are not new. With university fees proving to be getting more expensive these days, many would predictably jump at the opportunity to receive an affordable, ‘internationally recognised qualification’ that these fake universities claim to offer. However, with falsehood comes consequences to be dealt with: many students suffer at the hands of organisations like this one.
As reported by The Guardian back in 2008, a case study reveals that a student spent around €5,000 on a master’s degree in IIU when he would typically have to spend €8,000 in a recognised university, only to realise that the ‘university’ is a tiny office block in London with a handful of students. IIU then cuts off all connection when the student attempts to contact them.
Elsewhere, The Cambodia Daily also reported that National Assembly President Heng Samrin and 14 other government and parliamentary officials have been awarded qualifications by this ‘university’. They studied the courses by distance learning and were required to write theses before earning their ‘degrees’.
While the Department of Education is aware that the organisation is posing online as a university in Ireland, enforcement powers are limited as it has stopped using the title ‘university’ in its company name and website.
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