KUWAIT/JEDDAH: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is currently studying ways to set up a joint body that would prevent people working in the region with fake qualifications.
The discussions are being held by the recently established National Education Accreditation and Quality Committee, as called for by the GCC general secretariat.
Noria Al-Awadi, chairman of the body, said that the proposed joint body would establish a database of accredited institutions, and for a department to be set up to accredit qualifications. There would also be a GCC website that would focus on quality education, linked to bodies in Europe and elsewhere.
Al-Awadi said these initiatives were vital to ensure standardization of qualifications across the Gulf region. The committee also discussed the experiences of other countries in rooting out fraud and building partnerships to ensure standards are maintained.
Hanadi Al-Musin, from the committee’s general secretariat, said the meeting was important because it was called for by the GCC higher education ministers, to identify and expose colleges handing out fake qualifications.
This comes as reports emerged earlier this year that a Pakistani firm, Axact, allegedly sold 200,000 fake degrees and other qualifications to people from the Gulf, mostly from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, over the past four years.
The chief executive officer of the multibillion-dollar operation, Shuaib Shaikh, has been arrested, with investigations launched by several countries around the globe.
In Saudi Arabia, there have already been instances found of citizens and expatriates with fake qualifications holding high-paying jobs, according to reports.