Unaccredited degrees: Show-cause notices issued to 27 institutions
ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued show-cause notices to 27 universities/institutions allegedly offering unaccredited engineering degrees/courses.
The matter was brought to the notice of CCP through a letter which cited a newspaper article about the offer of unaccredited engineering programmes by universities or other institutions to their students.
The commission initiated an inquiry under Section 37 (1) of the Competition Act, 2010, and appointed Ikramul Haq, Director (SP); Mehreen Ibrahim, Deputy Director (Legal) and Marryum Pervaiz, Assistant Director (OFT), as inquiry officers to look into the matter.
According to the inquiry report, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has authorised the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) to carry out accreditation of institutions offering engineering degrees/courses.
The institutions offering degrees/ courses which fulfil the requirements laid down by the PEC are granted accreditation and their names are listed in the First Schedule of the Pakistan Engineering Council Act, 1976. The list is updated from time to time.
On perusal of advertisements in print and electronic media by various institutions offering engineering degrees/ courses for the year 2011, the inquiry officers found that 27 institutions claimed that they had accreditation, approval and permission from the PEC.
But on comparison of the advertisements with the updated list of the First Schedule of the PEC Act, it was found that none of the 27 institutions had been granted accreditation for 2011 as claimed in the advertisements.
The inquiry report concluded that the institutions claiming to be accredited had, prima facie, violated Section 10 (1) of the Competition Act, 2010.
“These institutions have also, prima facie, disseminated false and misleading information that is capable of harming business interests of others and distributed information to consumers regarding accreditation, lacking reasonable basis relating to the character and suitability of the degrees/courses offered and quality of education in terms of Section 10 (2) (a) and (b) of the Act.
“The deceptive marketing practices of unaccredited institutions offering engineering degrees not only have a huge financial impact on the students and parents but also have other negative socio-economic effects,” the report said.