Anointed to lead flock to UK study

February 4, 2005

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Wormwood Scrubs and Tesco have been included on a register of "approved institutions" to advise international students about where to study in the UK.

The internet register has been compiled by consultants for the Department for Education and Skills as part of a Home Office clampdown on bogus colleges and abuse of the visa system.

But the council for international education, Ukcosa, and the Association of Colleges have complained to civil servants that the register is littered with inaccuracies.

It details any organisation that has received funding for education and training. Coffee bars, taxi firms, rubbish collectors and most of Her Majesty's prisons are listed alongside Oxbridge colleges and lesser known education establishments such as the Archbishop of Canterbury - there by virtue of degree-awarding powers granted by the Pope in 1533.

The DFES said the register would help the Home Office tackle immigration abuse and aid overseas students in their search for courses. International students will not be granted a visa to study at non-listed institutions.

But Ukcosa and the AoC say non-accredited organisations are included on the register, while some genuine colleges have been refused requests to amend inaccuracies that have resulted in overseas students being told to leave the country.

Dominic Scott, Ukcosa's chief executive, said: "All you need is a fire certificate and a floor plan and you can get on (the list)."

Jo Clough, the AoC's international officer, said: "This is a missed opportunity to get a robust register. We did not anticipate this kind of nonsense."

Leader, page 16

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