The cost of unaccredited education in the UAE
does come at a cost, but what is the value of that cost which ends up being unworthy? While I started writing this feature, I never had the slightest idea that there are universities in Dubai which are unaccredited, and there could be a number of students who may have spent thousands of dirhams, and wasted their precious years of study. Unaccredited universities, colleges and institutions stand amongst those that do not have an educational accreditation. Some may have the legal authority to enroll students and grant degrees, but do not have educational accreditation for various reasons.
The unaccredited university issue
According to a recent article in Gulf News, some of the much unaccredited universities were allowed to operate in Dubai for many years, and some of them for almost ten years. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) have shut down three universities in Dubai and students are looking for justice. These universities were operating under Sudhir Gopi, an Indian businessman from Kerala, who used to own Sudhir Gopi Holdings in the UAE was deported from the country in 2010. All the universities that were opened by him were shut down in Dubai, the three of them being Universal Empire Institute of Medical Sciences (UEIMS) – Schools of Medical and Health Sciences located in Ras al Khaimah; Mahatma Gandhi University off Campus Centre and Indira Gandhi National Open University Centre, both located in Dubai International Academic City.
Students suffering heavy costs
A non-accredited university or college is usually affiliated with another school or institution. This accredited institution accepts transcripts for the non-accredited institution so that they can operate as a legal university. As mentioned in the Gulf News article, Joelyn T. Yousuf, a student from Philippines, paid Dhs 365,000 to study dentistry, but when her education was nearing, the university was shut over complaints of illegal practices. As Joelyn had suffered at UEIMS, there were many other students who were unable to contact anyone from the university. In 2010, Joelyn travelled to India with other students for her practical lessons which were conducted with the same university, only to realize that there were no records of paperwork for all the work she had done.
Such universities did not have any heavy or major entry requirements- just that they need to meet the criteria of being 17 years old, as on the date of admission and needed to show proof their ability to pay the quarterly tuition fees.
Justice is a must!
These students are seeking for justice! The authorities should implement a system where they list all the names of accredited universities so that students do not get trapped in the illegalities of unaccredited institutions. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) did not issue Educational Services Permit to the three universities, because they were working with the commercial licenses that were issued by the free zone authorities. All the three universities were undergoing KHDA’s quality assurance process as set out by the University Assurance International Board. They decided to relocate before they completed the process.
How to know if a university is accredited?
There are few, but essential guidelines which students must follow when applying to any university in Dubai. This does not include just the students who are here and want to study in one of the universities in Dubai, but also applicable for those who are coming from abroad, and who have more legal requirements and processes to cover up than local students:
- Students should make sure and keep a check whether the institute is accredited by the Ministry of Education and Research.
- Students who are awarded degrees from universities and colleges in Dubai free zones could get their qualifications attested by the KHDA.
- Public and private sector employers can accept these attested degrees.
- Attestation can be done by submitting documents to the KHDA directly, or to the university which the student graduated from. Fee of Dhs 200 is payable for each document required.