WENR, July/August 2015: Middle East

200,000 Fake Degrees Sold in Gulf Region by Axact

A staggering 200,000 people from Gulf countries bought fake online degrees and diplomas from the Pakistani IT firm Axact in the past four years.

This revelation comes from former Axact staff member-turned-whistleblower Sayyad Yasir Jamshaid, the key figure in a recent New York Times story exposing the degree mill operation. “At Axact’s 24/7 Karachi headquarters, we handled roughly 5,000 calls daily… Of them 60 percent came from the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” Jamshaid told XPRESS in a freewheeling interview.

“As one of the 110 quality assurance auditors, my job was to listen to the interactions between customers and sales agents. We had software which filtered incoming calls from various countries. It was rendered useless as almost every second call I picked was from the Gulf.

“Between 2011 and mid-2015, Axact issued degrees and diplomas from 350 non-existent universities to over 200,000 Middle East residents, mostly from the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” said the Pakistani. XPRESS could not independently verify Jamshaid’s claim but independent investigations and conversations with Axact sales agents in Pakistan show he may not be far off the mark.

June 18

Saudi Arabia: Foreign Universities to Remain Barred from Saudi Shores

The Shoura Council has rejected the proposal of council member Saeed Al-Sheikh to permit foreign universities to open branches in the Kingdom due to concerns over breaching Saudi cultural traditions and gender segregation. The decision was also based on a perceived failure of branch universities in surrounding countries to transfer the latest technologies and the best professors.

According to the council, there is no need to open branches of foreign universities in the Kingdom due to the success of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Scholarship Program, which has sent hundreds of thousands of Saudi students to top universities around the world over the last decade.

Arab News
May 21

United Arab Emirates: Dubai Enters Global Student Recruiting Partnership

International education events organizer BMI and Dubai International Academic City (DMIC) have entered into a strategic agreement that will see Brazil-based BMI support the education hub’s international recruitment efforts, while DIAC will promote BMI’s study fairs in the Gulf region.

The agreement will help DIAC, which is already popular with students in Dubai and from across the Gulf, to diversify its student intake as it seeks to recruit a greater proportion of its students from more distant regions, most notable Asia and South America.

The PIE News
May 25

Posted in Middle East, Regional News Summaries