Anorak News | The Free Degrees

The Free Degrees

by | 22nd, January 2004

‘IN the 1980s, the rule was ‘if it moves, privatise it’; in the 1990s, this was extended to things that didn’t move, like the trains on Britain’s dilapidated rail network.

All roads lead to Hull

Since Labour got into power in 1997, the emphasis has changed. Now it’s a question of ‘If it moves, privatise half of it; if it doesn’t, privatise the other half’.

But privatisation is still a dirty word in many circles and this morning’s report in the Guardian that the Tories are planning to privatise universities will no doubt help Labour whips rally recalcitrant MPs to its cause over top-up tuition fees.

Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Labour rebels earlier this week that the choice was between “progressive politics” and a Tory government that would do little to help poorer students.

There is, however, a third way, which was pioneered by the University of Humberside.

It is under investigation by police, the Times says, after raising millions of pounds by selling bogus degrees in education or business administration.

Teachers, police, army officers and senior civil servants were among 5,500 people who paid for fictitious qualifications from the university, which had campus branches in 26 different countries.

“Anywhere that was big enough to hold a desk and a chair, including in one case a petrol station, became a branch of the University of Humberside,” said Yehuda Maman, a spokesman for the Israeli police who have already arrested four managers at the university’s operation in that country.

The paper says up to 350 teachers face suspension or dismissal for obtaining bogus BA or MA degrees, while other Government employees who have used fake qualifications to get pay rises must repay the money or face jail.

Dr John Prescott MA(Hons) MSc PhD is MP for Hull.’

Posted: 22nd, January 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink