Learners beware!


11-July-2012

Frequently there are adverts appearing in the newspaper for courses on offer and in some The Seychelles Qualifications Authority can help you find out if an institution or programme of study are accredited by an authorised accreditation agency or body cases they are bogus. To assist learners in making the right choice, please read below.

Are you planning to study?
In Seychelles, overseas or online?

Be aware that there are diploma mills, accreditation mills and fraudulent providers lurking to prey on you.
Be sure you know whether the institution at which you have chosen to study is accredited, that is, it is a legitimate provider of certificates, diplomas or degrees, etc and it is NOT a Diploma Mill. Taking the time to check first can save you a lot of time, money, and effort. It is worth it, in the long run!

What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a process in which a programme of study or institution is assessed for its standard and given official recognition. At the programme level, accreditation is concerned with the quality of a specific course or programme of study; while institutional accreditation is concerned with the evaluation of an entire institution.

The accreditation process is intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of educational provisions, making it worthy of public confidence.

What is a diploma mill?
A diploma mill is a company that awards unaccredited degrees and provides either an inferior education or no education at all. If you’re considering attending an online programme, learn as much about diploma mills as you can. This article will teach you how to spot them, how to avoid them, and how to take action if you’ve been a victim of a diploma mill’s false advertising.

Diploma mills prey on naive people who are often too busy with families and careers to attend classes.

What is an accreditation mill?
This is accreditation with low educational standards and without recognition from government and other competent authorities. Accreditation mills give the public the impression that the institution has met the required standards.

Diploma mills warning signs
- Prospective students are bombarded with extreme promises about the degree programme.
- Students are given one bill for the degree instead of being charged tuition for each class or credit hour.
- The institution’s website has no phone number.
- The institution’s address is a PO Box or apartment number.
- There are no deans, directors, or professors on the website.
- The institution’s name is very similar to the name of a traditional, well-known institution.
- Degrees are awarded in a very short period of time – only a few weeks or months.
- The institution claims to be accredited by an organisation that is not listed as an accreditor approved by the accreditation agency in the country.
- The institution does not require studying, tests or essays. 
- The institution boasts of accreditation, i.e., “fully, nationally or worldwide accredited,” but has no legitimate accreditation. 
- The institution relies on “portfolio assessments” or “life experience.” 
- The institution advertises through e-mail messages sent to millions.


Thinking of studying?
When you are choosing an institution, ensure that it is accredited. This guarantees that the institution has met certain standards. Therefore, it is important to choose an accredited institution when considering tertiary education and training.

How to recognise fraudulent providers?
Before you make any contact or sign anything you should check with the Seychelles Qualifications Authority to ensure that the institutions and programmes of study are accredited by an authorised accreditation agency or body.

What to do?
Forward the requisite documents/queries to Seychelles Qualifications Authority (SQA). You may contact us on:
Tel: 4-324-055
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To further assist in the identification of valid agencies and, by contrast, detect whether an agency might be bogus, the following websites offer some lists of recognised and valid accrediting/quality assurance/ recognition bodies. Do note that these institutions keep popping up every day.

• INQAAHE (www.inqaahe.org
• The Council for HE Accreditation (CHEA) http://www.chea.org/search/default.asp 
• The European QA Register (EQAR) http://www.eqar.eu/register.html 
• ENQA full members: http://www.enqa.eu/agencies.lasso
• APQN full and associate members: http://www.apqn.org/membership/members/

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