Beijing: China is grappling with big increase in fake and phony universities, colleges and schools whose numbers have gone up to over 400 as they use names of real institutions by slightly altering them to confuse and dupe prospective students, state media reported on Tuesday.
A list of fake universities, colleges and schools was last week released on sdaxue.com website that helps students choose higher educational institutions.
It exposed 73 Chinese universities or colleges as unaccredited diploma mills. The website has been publishing its annual list of fake schools since 2013.
The list pushes the total number of phony colleges exposed to over 400, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. On the list are 23 schools in Beijing where many of the country's top universities are located. Shandong was second, with eight fake colleges, while Shanghai has seven.
Names of institutions are usually slightly altered versions of the names of real universities and colleges to confuse prospective students. Accreditation is usually fabricated or out of date.
According to the website, 66 of the 73 bogus colleges were not on the college list published by the Ministry of Education (MOE), while six used old names of legal colleges. One used an alternative name of a Party school in Beijing.
These colleges usually woo and swindle high school graduates through slick recruitment sites, it said. Xinhua reporters contacted a dozen of them, all supposedly located in Beijing, but none of their phone numbers were available. Most of the addresses are in the suburbs, making them tough to find.
Some, such as the address of 'Beijing Normal University of Science and Technology' simply do not exist, the report said.
One college claimed of having more than 16,500 graduates and excellent teaching facilities. Reporters could not locate the college although a vocational school was found.
One of the school staff confirmed that no other college is located there, and that the vocational school was the only education institution in the vicinity.
The college's name has been hijacked from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture. Newsletters and campus pictures were likewise copied from the website.
Beijing Tongji University of Medical Science, which claims to have been established in 1983 in Chaoyang District, was also non-existent.