ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has issued show cause notices to 27 universities/institutions allegedly offering unaccredited engineering degrees.
A statement issued by the Commission here said the CCP initiated an enquiry in respect of practice of universities/institutions offering unaccredited engineering degrees/courses.
The matter was brought to the attention of CCP through a letter that highlighted an article in a newspaper regarding universities/institutions that were offering unaccredited engineering degrees/courses to their students.
CCP appointed Director, Deputy Director and Assistant Director as enquiry officers, to carry out an enquiry and complete the enquiry report with its findings on whether institutions offering engineering degrees/courses have been involved in deceptive marketing practices.
According to the findings of the Enquiry Report, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) pursuant to its mandate has authorized the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) to carry out accreditation of institutions offering engineering degrees/courses.
The institutions offering engineering degrees/courses that fulfill the necessary requirements laid down by PEC are granted accreditation and their names are listed in the First Schedule of the Pakistan Engineering Council Act, 1976 which 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 enquiry officers found that 27 institutions offering engineering degrees/courses in various disciplines were claiming to have been accredited, approved, allowed or permitted by PEC.
However, 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 the year 2011 as claimed in their advertisements.
The Enquiry Report concluded that the unaccredited institutions offering engineering degrees/courses and claiming to be accredited have, prima facie, violated Section 10 (1) of the Act.
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.
It has been emphasized in the Enquiry Report that 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. APP