Axact Scandal – Proper Regulation & Licensing Would Have Avoided The Loot

Much has been said & commented since the day Axact Scandal emerged on Media. Experts, Educationists & Journalists all have given their analysis leading & focusing on one point agenda that this incident at such a huge scale was led to carry on & effect upon so many people for so many years without being noticed. All agree that Axact was issuing fake degrees operating both from Pakistan & abroad in projecting itself as a regional office or representative office for more than 100 universities. It claimed that it was quite legit in providing the services on behalf of so many foreign universities absolving its self from any responsibility what so ever. The management of Axact categorically denied any involvement with the universities in question what so ever on the status and recognition of the degrees and diplomas that were issued in any subject or profession it also took a stand that the business of foreign representation & providing services on behalf of foreign institution is normal & hundreds of such companies are providing services to students which requires no special license & is a normal business in Pakistan.

No agency in Pakistan whether from the Education Sector, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of labour & Man Power or Ministry of I.T took any responsibility but their representatives were in the front line as experts & analyst appearing on talk shows making comments that never touched the real issue or the most important aspect that need to be addressed if such incidents in the future are to be avoided.

Having worked as representative of a number of foreign universities & being one of the pioneers in this business since the early 1990’s I was quite astonished to hear the comments and read the analysis of the experts in Newspapers the fact is that this incident only occurred because of one reason NOREGULATION, LAW OR LICENSING FOR THE BUSINESS OF FOREIGN EDUCATION, CONSULTANTS OR ADVISORS.

A number of such incidents that brought defame to Pakistan including crimes such as murder & terrorism are all linked with us having a constitution & regulation in the business of education consultancy today. Even in the case of the mysterious murder of Imran Farooq the two person nominated by the investigation agencies who plotted the killing of Imran Farooq were sent to UK as students through a education consultant based in Karachi representing so called lams college in the east of London. This company existed & operated  as education consultant & recruited hundreds of students who’s intention were not to study & till the time the UKVI terminated the license of said college under the tear for which prohibited them to recruit international students.

I was asked by the Director General FIA in the year 2007 to produce a report & give my comments on the pros and cons of the business of education consultancy, keeping in view my market integrity & my experience in this profession. The initiative by the DG FIA was taken when Pakistani students held overseas were found with fake documents & degrees issued either from Pakistan or from abroad whose admissions & visas were processed by dubious education consultants. The objective was to look at introducing a framework and proposing a regulation to license the business of foreign education representation in Pakistan. It is pertinent here to mention that foreign education representation or service providers on behalf of foreign educational insinuations are subjected to regulation & issuance of license in all of the Middle East. This means that you cannot claim to Represent, Project, Provide Services or call yourself Representative of foreign university until you have been issued a license & no objection certificate from the relevant ministry both Higher Education & Interior. This certifies you to be a legit representative & you have to provide details of the type of work that you will carry out on behalf of these universities. Had this regulation in place in Pakistan & this business of consultancy was not allowed without a proper license no one including Axact would have floated & spoiled the careers of so many youth & looted billions of rupees by selling fake degrees. It is therefore high time the government agencies including Higher Education Commission should recommend a proper regulation & monitoring frame work for the business of education consultancy in Pakistan. Only those who fulfill a given & specific eligibility criteria & who undertake to follow the code of ethics should be allowed to operate. The Ministry of Information The Ministry of Interior should monitor the advertising by education consultants & ensure that they understand the concept of responsible marketing within their business sector. If this is not done now in future incidents like this will reoccur.

(Syed Azhar Husnain Abidi is a renowned educationist in Pakistan, with more than 25 years of experience as provider of education counselling services. He has represented Pakistan in over 100 national and international seminars, conferences and fora. He is the recipient of the most coveted civil award Tamgha-e-Imtiaz).

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