The Gambia’s Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST) has vowed to work with police and intelligence services to crack down on “false educational agencies”. In June 2021, MoHERST issued a statement cautioning students and their parents about dodgy education agents spruiking fake scholarships to universities in Turkey and Cyprus.

The full statement is below:

The Gambia

The MoHERST statement followed complaints from the the Association of Gambian Students in Turkey (AGAST) about widespread fraud by education agents in The Gambia, and the impact on students who arrive in Turkey to pursue higher education, only to find that they have been sold a lie.

In a statement, AGAST explained that a common scam by these dodgy education agents is to assure students and their families that they can get them Turkish visas and university admission certificates for D100,000 (about US$2000). “They would further seduce them by telling them that this amount covers their lodging and part of their university fees, which would turn out to be blatant lies”, the association said.

President of AGAST, Muhammed Trawally explained further:

By confidently enticing them with these sweet words many students fall into their traps. What they tell these students and what actually is on the ground in Turkey are poles apart. There are many victims of these scammers in Turkey. They apply to some of the poorest and lowest-scoring universities on the outskirts of Ankara and Istanbul; and when these students come here, they get disenchanted. As a result, some of them work for 10 hours a day to eke a living without a work permit. Clearly, a foreigner without a work permit is very vulnerable to exploitation by their employers. Frankly, it is not easy to get a job in Turkey to pay for house and utility bills, let alone tuition fees.

He went on to emphasise the warning to Gambians to be aware of fraudulent education agents, who often promote these scams on social media:

As an association, we consider it our responsibility to facilitate the study of Gambian students in Turkey. We are equally concerned about every  Gambian student in Turkey. As such, we cannot sit idly by and watch our brothers and sisters in disheartening situations.  It is in the same spirit that we deem it necessary to inform Gambians that announcements/advertisements made on some social media platforms on the subject of ‘Scholarship to study in Turkey’ are mostly fraudulent, and therefore people must be mindful of them.

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Source: News for The Gambia