Mohamed Abdel Latif: Egypt’s new education minister has a ‘fake’ PhD

Mohamed Abdel Latif says he holds a doctorate from Cardiff City University in the US, but online fact-checkers say it’s a scam

Egypt’s new education minister, Mohamed Abdel Latif, has sparked controversy after online fact checkers revealed that his PhD, advertised in the government’s publicity materials, seems to be “fake”.

On Wednesday, the new Egyptian government was sworn in after a reshuffle that kept the same prime minister and changed 20 portfolios, including Abdel Latif’s.

The reshuffle is the first since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi began his third presidential six-year term in April. 

The new cabinet will face an energy crisis and a heavily debt-laden economy, but is expected to be a rubber stamp administration, after 10 years’ consolidation of military rule dominated by Sisi supporters.  

Abdel Latif’s CV, published by the ministry and all government media outlets, includes two post-graduate degrees from the US, including a PhD from Cardiff City University in the United States and a master’s degree in education development from the US-based Lawrence University in 2012.

Egyptian journalist and fact-checker Hossam el-Hendy has questioned the authenticity of the PhD allegedly obtained by the new minister, who also uses the title “doctor” as an indication of his credentials. 

El-Hendy located the website of the university in the US and said that it is a “fake university, issuing fake documents and certificates with no actual campus. It is not the renowned Cardiff University in the UK.

“Fake universities are typically companies without campuses or faculty, granting non-accredited papers or certificates,” the journalist wrote.

The campus photo on Cardiff City University’s website is actually of Trinity College Great Court, part of Cambridge University. 

Additionally, the listed address on the university’s website belongs to an office rental building in Washington, used for company startups in the US.

The university’s email domain differs from the university’s domain itself, and the email domain is available for sale.

According to the archive of the university’s domain, in 2010 the domain was associated with a different university, not Cardiff City University, El-Hendy revealed.

In response to the social media campaign against the new minister, Egyptian lawyer Amr Abdel Salam lodged a complaint before the public prosecutor requesting verification of Abdel Latif’s degrees.

The lawyer explained in that if Abdel Latif is found guilty of committing the crime of “forging” an academic degree, he should be subject to Articles 211 and 213 of the Egyptian Penal Code, according to which such a crime is punishable by imprisonment or rigorous imprisonment. 

Additionally, Middle East Eye was unable to find any education development MA programme on Lawrence University’s website. The university has been approached for comment.

Abdel Latif’s latest experience is in managing private schools. He has been the CEO of Nermine Ismail (NIS) private school chain, owned by his mother, the daughter of Field Marshal Ahmed Ismail. 

His CV also includes his previous role as the managing director of AdvancED Education, a company specialising in the accreditation of American school certificates.

Middle East Eye has contacted Abdel Latif’s office for comment. 

El-Hendy’s post has gone viral, sparking questions about the criteria for selecting ministers in President Sisi’s government.

“It is certainly not a requirement for a minister to hold a PhD, but when a minister claims to have a PhD that is actually an unrecognised degree purchased from a fake university, this can only be described as inappropriate for his position,” wrote Al-Mawkef al-Masry, an online media outlet critical of the government.

The article first appeared in the Middle East Eye,