ISLAMABAD - The CCP has issued show cause notices to 27 universities/institutions allegedly offering unaccredited engineering degrees/courses; thus prima facie violating Section 10 of Competition Act, 2010. CCP initiated an enquiry in respect of practice of universities/ institutions offering unaccredited engineering degrees/courses under Section 37 (1) of the Competition Act, 2010. The matter was brought to the attention of CCP through a letter that highlighted an article in a newspaper regarding universities/institutions that were offering unaccredited engineering degrees/courses to their students.  CCP appointed Ikram ul Haq, Director (SP), Ms Mehreen Ibrahim, Deputy Director (Legal) and Ms Marryum Pervaiz, Assistant Director (OFT) as enquiry officers, to carry out an enquiry and complete the enquiry report with its findings on whether institutions offering engineering degrees/ courses have been involved in deceptive marketing practices in terms of Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010. According to the findings of the Enquiry Report, the HEC pursuant to its mandate has authorized the PEC to carry out accreditation of institutions offering engineering degrees/ courses. The institutions offering engineering degrees/courses that fulfill the necessary requirements laid down by PEC are granted accreditation and their names are listed in the First Schedule of the Pakistan Engineering Council Act, 1976 (the ‘PEC Act’) which is updated from time to time. On perusal of advertisements in print and electronic media by various institutions offering engineering degrees/courses for the year 2011, the enquiry officers found that 27 institutions offering engineering degrees/ courses in various disciplines were claiming to have been accredited, approved, allowed or permitted by PEC. However, on comparison of the advertisements with the updated list of the First Schedule of the PEC Act, it was found that none of the 27 institutions had been granted accreditation for the year 2011 as claimed in their advertisements. The Enquiry Report concluded that the unaccredited institutions offering engineering degrees/courses and claiming to be accredited have, prima facie, violated Section 10 (1) of the Act. These institutions have also, prima facie, disseminated false and misleading information that is capable of harming business interests of others and distributed information to consumers regarding accreditation.

, lacking reasonable basis relating to the character and suitability of the degrees/courses offered and quality of education in terms of Section 10 (2) (a) and (b) of the Act. It has been emphasized in the Enquiry Report that the deceptive marketing practices of unaccredited institutions offering engineering degrees not only have a huge financial impact on the students and parents but also have other negative socio-economic effects.