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Questions about London

Here in this forum I've seen several expressions regarding the UK in general and London in particular that left me curious.

So, what is London's "hire and fire mentality"? While the name is self-explanatory, how does this relate in the real world? What does it really happen?

What are UK's degree mills? Fake universities that simply dish-out fake degrees or universities so weak one can't expect to leave them with any kind of knowledge whatsoever?


Saturday, March 20, 2004

Sounds like a pair of loaded questions to me.

Personally, I'm not aware of a hire and fire mentality... but I have just been with one company since I graduated 18 months ago.

Likewise, I'm not aware of the UK having "degree mills".  I am aware that UK degrees are often (but not always) shorter than European or American equivalents, especially a post-graduate level.  But I wouldn't say you could judge somebody's knowledge based on where/what degree they did anyway.

Care to expand on what you have heard?

Tom (a programmer)
Saturday, March 20, 2004

A degree mill is a non-accredited university. You write  send them a check and they will send you a nice piece of paper saying you have a Bachelors, Masters, or PhD with them. Some pretend to give you your degree based on your professional experience, so you send them a false or genune CV and that's it; others don't even bother with that stage.

As I mentioned earlier the University of Michigan publishes a 13 page .pdf file which lists the main ones. I have some further documentation on them if you are interested.

They can have an official base anywhere; in practise those that sell to US and Canadian citizens tend to base themselves in the UK or Europe, and vice-versa. You normally just need to open your junkmail folder to see hundreds of spam letters from them.

Some would say that there are universitites where it would cause no lowering of academic standards if they posted you the degree when you applied and saved everybody the hassle of three years study, but that is another matter (and hell: if you spend three years getting pissed, stoned and screwed at college its called preparation for life, or networking or whatever, whilst outside college it's just anti-social behaviour).

Stephen Jones
Saturday, March 20, 2004

There is another aspect of a degree mill in that it aids illegal workers. Obviously, for citizens of countries that find it hard to get visas to the UK, enrollment at a degree mill means that you pay an amount and then have time to work someplace without irritating attendance requirements and so on.

At the end of it, you earn money working and you also have a degree certificate.

I don't think this is specific to London or even the UK, though.

deja vu
Saturday, March 20, 2004

You don't enroll at  a degree mill. They normally work from a PO Box number or a shared office somewhere.

In the Uk it is fairly common for foreigners to enroll in a course of study that enables them to work parttime and then work full time and scarcely ever turn up to class, but these institutions are recognized educational institutions.

The fiddle of course has been tolerated for a long time. The hospitality industry, and other service industries in the UK rely on cheap foreign labour. The last hotel I stayed at in London had a solidly Romanian staff, apart from the night managers who were Indian.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, March 21, 2004

Wow, have the authorities in the UK try shutting these operations down? I mean it's hard to justify getting a few po boxes sealed, but to the industry it's a very bad thing if it helps under qualified coders to work on software that could keep someone alive or kill them.

Li-fan Chen
Sunday, March 21, 2004

I don't understand this.

I'm assuming that both USA and UK have a list of accredited and "proper" universities that are allowed to hand out degrees. Wouldn't it be trivial to compare the holder's university with this list and go, 'hmmm... this one's not there. He's probably not got a real degree. Deny him the work visa'?

What am I missing?

Karl Max
Sunday, March 21, 2004

in the Uk they come under the local Council's fair tradiing inspectorate. They can be fined  a few thousand pounds, but still seem to be going strong.

It's not too difficult to check if a university is accredited but some people don't bother; remember that degree mills set up false accrediting associations with their own web sites as well.

The US News appears to have the most easily accessible list for the States. In the UK you are pretty safe checking up if the institution has an domain name, and I pretty well know all the UK universities anyway.

What does confuse things is that there are branches of American Universities in Europe and the Middle East that are accredtied and have impressive academic credentials.

As I said; there are a load more of them based in the States than in Europe or the UK.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, March 21, 2004

Incidentally, Kal Max, you're not getting the point about the work visas. What the poster was referring to was the habit of many "students" to enroll at a legitimate course with the intention of being able to work full time in some unskilled job.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, March 21, 2004

Actually I had the idea that degree mills were universities where you did attend classes but whose curricula and teachers were so weak that they had no industry reputation. You just spent three years there doing your thing and then got out knowing not much more than when you got in.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

As I understand it, there is no UK equivalent of US 'trade schools' (there is one that advertises a lot on TV in the states and has small print on the commercials saying 'limited credit transfer', but I forget its name).

All UK universities have 'charters' which allow them to grant degrees, and there are some colleges which are allowed to grant degrees under the ausipices of some other university.

In principle all UK first degrees are of equivalent standard (ha ha).

As far as the 'hire and fire' mentality goes, I believe if anything this is far less prevalent in the UK than the US - certainly I have worked for the UK subsidiaries of two US companies and for 2 UK companies and from this and talking to friends my impression is that the business ethics of UK companies is in general much higher than that of US companies [FX:ducks].

Harvey Pengwyn
Monday, March 22, 2004

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