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Lebanese gov’t cracks down on “fake degrees”

Four universities in Lebanon are being investigated for selling fake degrees, which has led to more than 40 people being arrested, with the country’s director general of Higher Education being implicated.

Four of Lebanon's 41 universities have been implicated in the scandal. Photo: Pixabay

According to The National, Ahmed el-Jammal was the highest profile to have been taken into custody in a spate of arrests in a scandal surrounding fake-degrees.

“These things are always very worrying”

In 2018, the American University of Culture and Education and the Lebanese French University received warnings from the government and a fine said to have been around US$45,000.

Saida University College has reportedly closed, while the fourth university involved – the Arts, Sciences and Technology University in Lebanon – is still under investigation.

“I’m not surprised by corruption in the public sector, but this goes beyond anything imaginable and really undermines the credibility and values of education,” one university professor, who asked to remain anonymous, told The National.

“These things are always very worrying,” the chief executive of British Accreditation Council Paul Fear said, but it will be difficult to establish the facts. The organisation reaccredited the American University of Culture and Education in January 2017.

“We often get more information coming from students talking to each other and then telling us and putting us in touch with the right source of information,” he added.

“The biggest concern we have is degree mills – organisations who are printing degrees or awarding degrees without students having to do the work,” Fear told The PIE News.

“British universities have a lot of relationships and degree sharing programs of different types with almost every single country in the world.

“It’s a responsibility of everybody involved in higher education everywhere to make sure that the right controls and oversight are in place to stop this kind of thing happening,” he added.

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