Britain’s Department for Education has said that it doesn’t recognise the Schiller International University (SIU), which issued a masters degree to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader Muhammad Usman Dar in 1997 in London, according to a local media report on Monday.
According to records of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the PTI leader from Sialkot has submitted a post-graduate degree from the Schiller International University bearing the address of “London Campus” — obtained on 14 May in 1997 in London. Usman Dar used the same degree for the ECP when he stood in the NA-110 Sialkot constituency against Khawaja Asif.
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.
Interestingly, the body that 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 owing to its low standards. ACICS is notorious in America for accrediting Axcat style institutions and visa mills.
In a statement, the British Accreditation Council (BAC) said 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 Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) confirmed that it didn’t recognise SIU and never knew about its existence in the UK.
Usman Dar acknowledged that he has recently developed “some doubts” about his degree and has asked Higher Education Commission to verify it.
“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,” he said.
Dar was aware of the fact that SIU had closed its campus in London in 2010 saying the immigration problems forced them to close campus as most of their students were from overseas.
“The British students preferred local UK universities so most of my fellow students in SIU were from Asia and Eastern Europe,” he said, confirming that Schiller accommodated those who students from overseas who wanted degrees through easy route and cheaply.