- NYT editorial not at peace with idea of Pakistani govt being unaware of Axact’s wrongdoing
An editorial in New York Times (NYT) says it is “difficult to believe” that the Pakistani government was unaware that Karachi-based company Axact was operating a global network of fake online schools selling bogus degrees.
According to the editorial appearing in Wednesday’s edition of the leading US newspaper, the government of Pakistan was left with little choice but to raid Axact offices after a NYT story by its Pakistan bureau chief Declan Walsh disclosed clear connections between the Pakistani IT firm and at least 370 education websites selling fake degrees.
“The scam had existed for years and reaped many millions of dollars,” said the editorial.
The NYT points out that the problem of bogus degrees exists far beyond just one company, but the explosive story – which has also taken the local Pakistani media by storm – gives reason for the US Congress and the country’s lawmakers “to become much more aggressive at exposing fraudulent companies that pose as legitimate schools”.
The editorial acknowledges that, although some customers knowingly “buy” bogus academic degrees from such websites, fake “diploma mills” ruin the ambitions of people seeking a legitimate education.
“Axact, however, is hardly the only actor in this arena. In their book titled ‘Degree Mills: The Billion-Dollar Industry That Has Sold Over a Million Fake Diplomas,’ the former F.B.I. agent Allen Ezell and his co-author, John Bear, set forth staggering statistics about comparable or similar frauds,” says the NYT editorial.
Ezell and Bear’s book claims that over 3,300 unrecognized universities exist across the world and that more than 50,000 PhDs are purchased from diploma mills every year —more than the number of annual legitimately earned doctorate degrees.
“The fact that fake medical degrees seem particularly easy to come by raises obvious safety concerns,” it adds. “Congress, which has paid only glancing attention to this problem, needs to focus on it in a sustained way. That means getting federal agencies to devise a coherent plan for curbing these kinds of abuses.”