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Fees bring flurry of 'fake' colleges to Sweden

Fees bring flurry of 'fake' colleges to Sweden

Published: 31 Jan 2012 12:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 31 Jan 2012 12:52 GMT+01:00

After the introduction of tuition fees to Swedish universities, the country has been experiencing an influx of fictitious colleges requesting to establish themselves in Sweden.

”Anyone can start anything and call it a university. I usually say that it is like setting up a hot dog stand” said Lennart Ståhle of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket) to the Swedish Association of University Teachers' (Sulf) union paper.

"At the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education we can't have an opinion when it comes to this and they can establish themselves here as long as they follow Swedish tax laws. It is like any sort of business venture."

Despite having been a problem in the US and the UK for a long while, fake universities are a fairly recent phenomenon in Sweden.

However, with the advent of tuition fees at Sweden's universities and a British crackdown on the ”fake college” industry as well as stricter rules on student visas, the country is now experiencing a flurry of activity from schools wanting to establish in Sweden.

”Sweden's become an interesting market as these schools say they only charge half of what Swedish universities are charging. They are using our good name, as Sweden is seen as a trustworthy country to study in,” Ståhle told newspaper Sydsvenskan.

Sydsvenskan mentions a few colleges, all with English sounding names.

One offers courses in business administration from an address in the Stockholm suburb of Solna while another, apparently located centrally in the district of Södermalm, offers courses in business management, travel, tourism and hospitality management, as well as accounting.

A third school, this time in the suburb of Sollentuna, claims to have premises with class rooms and a cafeteria, as well as offering seven courses in different subjects.

But according to Sydsvenskan, the National Agency for Higher Education found that its address turned out to be located on top of a car repair shop.

Another turned out to have a Stockholm phone number but the line had been cut off, according to the Sulf newspaper.

Yet another had a post box in an office building in the capital, but a British phone number, while one apparently showed pictures of Stockholm City Library's interior, claiming it was the school's, reported the paper.

However, according to Ståhle it is difficult to know if these schools are breaking the law, as the agency has no right to investigate a centre of learning that isn't offering a Swedish qualification.

”We can't make an official judgement on any of these ”colleges”. We don't control them. They are none of our business, so to speak,” Ståhle told the Sulf union paper.

The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:15 January 31, 2012 by seborga82
the stupidity of communist thinking...private schools and universities are normal in most capitalistic countries. Sweden should start to allow private owned institutions as long as they fulfilled the accreditation standard which Sweden should promote beside the Högskoleverket, which has no clue about assuring the real quality of education beside using tax payers' money!
14:16 January 31, 2012 by JulieLou40
Oh great. Make a big song and dance about how you can't do anything, you pillock. You just opened the floodgates to these fraudsters, big time!!
15:41 January 31, 2012 by Andrey Kiselev
Hm... That could be predicted. This also happened in some former Soviet Union countries when educational system became opened and potentially profitable. And this resulted in lowering education quality in general and in a plenty of undemanded people with "university-like" qualifications. But the question is how to resolve the issue as soon as possible. One of solutions I am thinking about is to allow private universities to charge tuition fee only after showing proven quality of education.
16:24 January 31, 2012 by Ugly Indian
-------But according to Sydsvenskan, the National Agency for Higher Education found that its address turned out to be located on top of a car repair shop. --------

lol this was Hilarios :D
17:49 January 31, 2012 by Scepticion
Well, some of the recognized institutions are not much better than diploma mills.
19:34 January 31, 2012 by Puffin
@seborga82

LOL you are hilarious - just what Sweden needs "quality education" from a fake Universities operating from over a car repair shop

You seem unaware that private universities already exist in Sweden
22:05 January 31, 2012 by Roy E
If you declare 'file sharing' a religion, one should not be surprised if scammers consider Sweden fertile ground.
05:06 February 1, 2012 by SergioSver
@seborga, yeah , yeah, I propose we cooperate and create something.

For instance, 2 rooms apartment in Tensta, one for the classes another for the staff. I can put some books in the kitchen so that future students will have food court and the library at the same place. Would not it be convenient?

The only thing that bothers me is the name.

I have not come out with any catchy name for my University- it will be University without doubt- can not settle for less.I think Tensta International School of Business and Economics would do.

Any other proposals guys?
18:31 February 13, 2012 by Poya K
When it comes to education, healt care and pharmacy it should not be profitable.
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