8 January 2008

Bogus university scam uncovered

An education scam that targets young people desperate to acquire ‘degrees’ has been exposed by a Custodian investigation.

The bogus University of Camford, a formerly prestigious seat of learning, has been allowed to offer sub-standard and worthless degrees — virtually unchecked by the government — for the last twenty years.

Camford, which has 10,000 students from around the world, maintains the illusion of a valid education through its elaborate but highly misleading programme of interventionist ideology and training in vacuous jargon.

This illusion is enhanced by its continued use of ancient award ceremonies.

After each event, photographs appear on the Camford website showing happy students receiving awards at the UK's best seat of learning, when in fact the value of what they have learnt is highly questionable.

The website also claims that Camford’s educational programmes are accredited and quality controlled by the impressive sounding QAA — the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, based in Gloucester.

During secretly filmed meetings, the chief executive of Camford told our undercover team that the QAA was an "independent body" that maintained the quality of education in the UK and elsewhere. In fact, our team discovered, the QAA has a clearly ideological agenda, aimed at promoting a programme of ‘egalitarianism’.

The QAA website lists an impressive roll-call of staff including several Professors and a couple of CBEs. A check at Companies House revealed that, far from being "independent", the QAA is in fact a branch of the government, and reflects government ideological policies.

Bona fide academic Professor Aldous Jeffs gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on the subject of bogus institutions. He told us: "Some of these colleges will say, 'sure we carry out research which advances human knowledge', but when you say 'who actually reads your research', they are only able to name individuals belonging to their own faculties."

Our reporter, posing as a fake postdoc student, arranged to meet Professor Walter Bradley, a high-ranking academic at Camford. We secretly filmed this meeting.

Professor Bradley admitted to our undercover reporter that the image of Camford was an illusion: "When you look at the material which is taught, especially in economics and philosophy, it's a figment of someone's imagination. Someone's dreamt up what a university should look like in a postmodern world, and that's what we’ve got."

Professor Bradley told us that students paid a lot of money to attend Camford, adding: "Because of the historical associations and the resulting snob value, you only have to mention the name ‘Camford’ and the whole world thinks that it must be a good university."

He then said of the university's operation: "The whole thing's dodgy."

Another Custodian reporter then openly confronted Professor Bradley:

Reporter: You said the whole thing is dodgy.

Prof Bradley: It is dodgy!

Reporter: Oh so you admit it's dodgy?

Prof Bradley: Of course it's dodgy.

In spite of our investigations, Professor Bradley refused to quit his post, stating that most Camford students were happy and that the university was good value for money, providing them with a passport to higher salaries in spite of its curricula being largely worthless.

Professor Arnold Grimm of the University of Berlin has seen coursework from a Camford graduate.

He said: "Students are paying for this, what I would regard as worthless and bogus qualifications. I would say, buyer beware from the point of view of students. You know I really think that they'll probably be getting qualifications which are unlikely to be taken seriously in China or India."

Apologies to: BBC News