HC Deb 24 July 1973 vol 860 cc1389-90
7. Miss Fookes

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will issue a list naming the institutions offering bogus qualifications.

Mrs. Thatcher

No, Sir. I have issued a list of authentic degrees and equivalent qualifications awarded in the United Kingdom. This is a more effective safeguard and anyone in doubt can consult the list.

Miss Fookes

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that the only effective way of dealing with this matter is by legislation prohibiting completely the activities of such institutions?

Mrs. Thatcher

I am not sure that that would be the only effective way. It would mean setting up a vast registration system, which would mean yet another extension of bureaucracy. At present the best way is to have a list of authentic degrees and to see that it is readily and easily available. The fault is not limited to bogus degrees in this country; many are granted abroad.

Mr. Lipton

Is the right hon. Lady aware that my hon. Friend the Member for Wandsworth, Central (Mr. Thomas Cox) has introduced a Bill that would go some way to deal with the racket of "phoney" degrees? Will she see that the Government expedite the passage of that Bill?

Mrs. Thatcher

I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on asking that question a day before the House rises. I hardly think there would be time before then.

Mr. Boyden

Surely the Government could prosecute firms in England which issue bogus degrees. Will her Department consider that?

Mrs. Thatcher

Prosecutions are not a matter for my Department they would probably be for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary.

8. Miss Lestor

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she is satisfied with the distribution of the information she has prepared on recognised degrees and qualifications; and in how many countries this is now available.

Mrs. Thatcher

Yes, Sir. The number of countries to which the information has been sent is 134.

Miss Lestor

Is not the right hon. Lady aware that the whole education world is angry about the attitude of the Government, particularly her own attitude, to the whole question? Many of my hon. Friends and I agree with the hon. Lady the Member for Merton and Morden (Miss Fookes) about legislation. Has the Secretary of State had any discus. sions with the people my hon. Friend the Member for Wandsworth, Central (Mr. Thomas Cox) and I have mentioned who have done a great deal of work Mr. Day and Mr. Lydden-Jones—on bogus qualifications and their repeated recommendations about legislation?

Mrs. Thatcher

The subject was brought to my attention by the Council for the Accreditation of Correspondence Colleges. As a result, we went into the problem and we have taken steps of which the hon. Lady knows.