Looking for list of international universities online? Here’s a warning

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Picking a college has never been easy. The decision got even more confounding this year for millions of internationally mobile students who refer to the handbook of universities that enlists institutions from around the globe, thus preventing candidates from joining fake colleges, garage universities and fly-by-night operators.

Now, a fake version of this manual is being sold on an online market platform and prospective students cannot distinguish between the real and counterfeit ones. Unesco and International Association of Universities (IAU) have warned students from purchasing the fake copy to safeguard their interests.

“A fake version of the IAU-Unesco ‘International Handbook of Universities’ is currently being sold by a fraudulent company on Amazon and on a website purporting to be a part of Unesco,” said Nicholas Poulton, assistant editor at IAU, Unesco House. The publisher Springer/Palgrave Macmillan is currently investigating the matter and has refused to comment until it has some clarity.

This three-volume set is a guide to over 18,000 education institutions worldwide that offer at least a post-graduate degree or a four-year professional diploma. The 28th edition also includes single-user access to IAU’s online service for 12 months from the publication date.

 The book, also stocked by college libraries, student counsellors and international schools, is the Bible that is referred to while shortlisting universities. British Council, United States India Educational Foundation (USIEF) and the likes hold on to copies of this handbook for prospective students and researchers in education who refer to the database.
 Everyone knows the big labels. But then there are always a few little-known institutes that candidates apply to for backup. “This handbook and then the internet helps them draw up a list of where all to send their applications,” said a counsellor.
 Pratibha Jain, director of Eduabroad, said a publisher had reproduced the book, infringed on the Unesco copyright and printed the same book and was selling it at one-tenth the cost.
 “When students are making such critical decisions, they want to refer to books that hold credible and authentic information and hence refer to this handbook,” said Maria Mathai, founder of UnivQuest.

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