Tertiary education has become such a bakaliko* of late and its all thanks it seems to the EU. The Union appears to have liberalised regulation on who can offer university degrees to such a laughable level making dodgy degrees bought online seem worthy. The bottom line is simple. Put up a sign and declare yourself  authorized to represent a recognized university. It really is that simple.

In a place like Cyprus, where university education, despite the high levels of Cypriots studying abroad, has developed rather late, its seems the lengthy struggles private universities have endured to obtain legal status have been an exercise in DiY nihilism. Even the state university, subsidized heavily by the tax payer may be effected by the new practice of relatively small, unregulated private enterprises posing as colleges sticking up signs that say ‘The University of Blah Blah’. Sheffield comes to Cyprus. Greenwich too. In fact any one can make this move if they have the know how and connections with the UK or other EU countries with strong university degrees.

It seems that instead of becoming an international centre for tertiary education Cyprus will end up becoming a free for all, a market place for education without a properly supported let alone protected indigenous university sector.  Surely it is high time the government took this matter more seriously before the unfair competition being imposed by what seems to be a loophole in EU law effectively destroys the hard earned dreams and efforts of people in the relatively new and emerging university sector of Cyprus. The state supported University of Cyprus was set up in 1992. The 3 private Universities, The University of Nicosia, The European and Frederick were recognized in 2007 following a rigorous and time consuming universitization process.

So it seems pathetic that after all that any one can put up a sign in their front window and declare themselves to be a branch of a university from a country in the EU. Their prospective students might not even get to visit the place. They certainly will not get the experience of campus life. At the end of it all they may get a piece of paper called a degree, earned albeit via proxy.

*bakaliko – local corner shop – small supermarket – Cypriot vernacular

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