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Nomination papers: PTI’s Usman Dar drops MBA degree

June 15, 2018

LONDON/ISLAMABAD: PTI leader Muhammad Usman Dar has not mentioned his dubious MBA degree in his nomination papers for 2018 elections despite declaring it in his papers for 2013 elections.

Dar had declared in 2013 that he had done his MBA from the London campus of Schiller University and attached a copy of the degree certificate with his papers.

However, a detailed investigative report in this paper by these two reporters on November 28th 2017 had revealed that his degree was dubious, as he’d got it without attending classes.

Britain’s Department for Education had said that it didn’t recognise Schiller International University (SIU), which issued a master’s degree to Dar in 1997 in London. But Dar mentioned the same degree in his nomination papers for 2013 elections while contesting from NA-110 Sialkotagainst PML-N leader Khawaja Asif.

Surprisingly Dar, who insists his degree was not a fake, chose not to mention the same in his nomination papers for 2018 elections for the National Assembly constituency NA-73. According to his fresh nomination papers, a copy of which is available with The News, Dar claimed only graduation degree from the Punjab University.

When contacted, Dar admitted he deliberately did not mention his MBA degree in his fresh nomination papers. He said: “Masters is not a requirement for elections, so I decided to submit only my graduation degree to the Election Commission of Pakistan.”

He however insisted that his MBA degree was genuine. In the qualification column, Dar’s 2013 nomination papers mentioned “Master’s of Business Administration (UK).

“Actually I am waiting for an equivalence certificate from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for my MBA degree so until I get it, I think it is not appropriate for me to claim that degree in my papers,” he said.

However, when asked why he had submitted the same in 2013 elections, he paused for a moment and said at that time HEC equivalence was not required Asked whether he was doubtful about his degree, Dar said: “No, I have no doubts about my degree; I did not obtain the UK degree for elections.”

Image of Usman Dar's degree issued by Schiller International University, which the UK Education Department doesn't recognize.

According to old record of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the PTI leader had submitted to it an MBA degree from the Schiller International University bearing the address of “London Campus” -- obtained on 14 May in 1997 in London.

The UK’s Department for Education said it didn’t recognise or evaluate the degrees issued by the SIU and had no partnership with any UK university at the time it issued the degrees till the Schiller shut itself down in 2011.

The Schiller University told The News it had shut down its operations because of change in immigration rules as the flow of international students after the Home Office tightened rules. A study of the SIU shows that it’s Axact type educational institution which exist in their hundreds across the United States of America (UA) and issue degrees to students as long as right amount of fees is paid.

The SIU has campuses in Florida and at least two European cities but obtaining a degree through online only enrolment or otherwise is an easy task, attending classes is not mandatory and any kind of degree can be obtained easily as long as fees is paid.

Usman Dar’s degree certificate states that “Upon the Recommendation of the Faculty, Schiller International University has conferred upon M. Usman Dar Master of Business Administration in International Business with all the Rights, Honors and Privileges belonging to that Degree. In witness thereof this Diploma has been issued. It carries signature by “University President”, Florida, and issued by the “London Campus”. It says the University is incorporated in the State of Florida, USA.

Interestingly, the body that accredited SIU in the United States namely the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) is no longer recognized by the US Department of Education owing to its low standards. ACICS is notorious in America for accrediting Axact style institutions and visa mills.

A visa mill is an educational institution that profits from the tuition it receives after causing the issuance of student visas (F-1s). The school then, typically, hands out instant work permits, while providing the scantiest of education to these students. According to US experts, such places often have a student body that is 95 percent foreign.

In a statement, the British Accreditation Council (BAC) said that it had nothing to do with the accreditation of Schiller International University London in the year of 1997 and that it was never accredited to issue degrees and certificates.

“The accreditation was of Schiller International University – London campus - for period 2003 -2011. The accreditation did not include accreditation of their courses/programmes. During the accreditation period, I believe their programmes were validated by their US campus (which was recognised by the CHEA),” said the BAC spokesman.

A forensic linguistic analyst commented on the Shiller University’s degree issued to Usman Dar and said that it appeared “dubious, wrong and fake”. The expert said that the word “Masters” in the degree was wrong, it should have been written as “Master’s”.

The expert noted that the Schiller’s original degree spelled Dar’s name as “M Usman Dar” but a clarification notice spelled his name as “Usman Muhammad Dar”. The expert noted mistake in the clarification issued by the Schiller after The News broke the story.

The Schiller claimed in the rejoinder that “all courses are conducted in the English language on campus but it should have been “were” and not “are” as there is no campus anymore in the UK and Shciller shut itself; also the correct use would be “English language” and not “The English”. The Schiller wrote name of the accreditation body wrongly. The university first said that Dar had been issued a degree and then said that it was a diploma. The expert noted that there were at least six grammatical mistakes in the degree and in the clarification letter issued by the Schiller.