London, June 17 (ANI): There could be as many as 2,000 privately funded 'fake' colleges in the UK, allowing tens of thousands of bogus students in to the country, it has emerged.
Britain's Further Education Minister Kevin Brennan admitted he is concerned about the wave of fake colleges is damaging the UK's reputation as a centre for education.
"(Bogus colleges) do have the potential to have a negative impact on the country's reputation for education which is very high," The Telegraph quoted Brennan, as saying.
Colleges that are publicly funded already have to register with the Government but privately funded ones do not, allowing virtually anyone to set up a college anywhere, even a back room.
"It's almost unbelievable that anyone can hire two rooms above a fish and chip shop, and call themselves a college," said Tony Millns, CEO of English UK.
Brennan told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that the government is also looking at making the title "college" a restricted term that can only be used by approved establishments.
"It doesn't seem logical that the term university should be protected but the term college should not be protected."
In April, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas admitted bogus colleges had been the Achilles heel of the immigration system.
He said he had no idea how many foreigners were living in Britain illegally after enrolling on spurious courses at the colleges.
New Home Office rules for foreign students mean those coming from outside the EU must be registered with an approved institution.
But Brennan said he was still concerned about colleges trying to attract EU students.
"I'm considering what steps we might be able to take to deal with that residual issue of bogus colleges which are bringing in students from within the EU. An IT system that will allow the Home Office to monitor whether students are regularly attending their courses will be in place by the end of the year," he said. (ANI)