Zimbabwe deregisters seven universities in India and Northern Cyprus

Zimbabwe deregisters seven universities in India and Northern Cyprus

By Polly Nash

The Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education announced earlier this year the removal of seven universities in India and Cyprus from its list of verified institutions, for failing to renew their government accreditation.

In its initial statement on March 11, 2024, the government body, ZIMCHE, gave no reason for the deregistration of institutions but noted that “studying at an unaccredited institution may result in financial loss and have serious implications for one’s academic qualifications and career prospects.”

“We strongly advise members of the public to verify the accreditation status of foreign universities they intend to enrol with or consider for their children’s university education,” read the statement.

“The affected universities were removed from the list of accredited foreign institutions due to the expiration of their registration,” ZIMCHE marketing manager Reginald Nyango later told The PIE News, adding that the reaccreditation of Parul University in Gujarat, India, is currently underway.

The following institutions were removed from ZIMCHE’s accredited list:

  • Girne American University (Northern Cyprus)
  • Sharda University of India
  • Parul University (India)
  • Near East University (Northern Cyprus)
  • University of Kyrenia (Northern Cyprus)
  • The European University of Lefke (Northern Cyprus)
  • University of Nicosia (Northern Cyprus)

Other than agents and representatives, none of the impacted universities from India and Northern Cyprus currently have a physical presence in Zimbabwe.

The rising demand for academic qualifications is resulting in the proliferation of unregistered institutions and the illegal awarding of qualifications, posing significant challenges to academic integrity

Reginald Nyango, ZIMCHE

The removals followed ZIMCHE’s previous order to revoke the honorary degrees issued by the Harare-based International Institute of Philanthropy, which it said was “not authorised to award degrees in Zimbabwe as it is not a registered higher education institution”.

“The rising demand for academic qualifications or honours is resulting in the proliferation of unregistered institutions, and the illegal awarding of qualifications such as honorary doctorates poses significant challenges to maintaining academic integrity,” said Nyango.

“The registration and accreditation of foreign universities is particularly crucial for ensuring quality, promoting academic credibility, protecting students, and facilitating the international mobility of students and graduates.”

Keeping pace with advancements in technology and integrating them into ZIMCHE’s regulatory framework, alongside funding constraints, are posing further challenges to the regulation of higher education in Zimbabwe, according to Nyango.

ZIMCHE was established by the Zimbabwe government in 2006 to regulate teaching standards, examinations, academic qualifications and research in higher education institutions.

In recent years, universities in Northern Cyprus have intensified their recruitment of international students with a particular focus on Asia and Africa.

The five Cypriot universities on the list are found in the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is not recognised by any government outside of Turkey.

Some Middle Eastern countries do not recognise higher education certificates issued by universities in the region and Nigerian authorities have warned of “unscrupulous” agents and human trafficking in Northern Cyprus.

Both the Indian institutions involved are officially recognised by the Indian education ministry’s University Grants Commission.