01 August 2005

Scam watch: Bogus Irishmen III- The plot thickens

More on the Bogus Irishmen a.k.a. Irish International University & its fellow Irish institution, Cambridgeshire University.

NST asks the question
Were there hidden hands in the Higher Education Ministry and the Public Service Department (PSD) helping bogus universities operate in the country?
It then goes on to say
It has letters from the Higher Education Ministry and PSD stating that degrees from Cambridgeshire University were recognised by the Government. (Claim 1)
It has copies of cheques issued by EPF in 2003 to pay for tuition fees for Cambridgeshire University under its Education Withdrawal Scheme. (Claim 2)
It has seen a PSD letter dated 1999 stating that Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees from Irish International University were recognised by the Government. (Claim 3)
What is the Minister of higher education's response?
Response to Claim 1:
Dr Mohd Shafie said the claim made by Cambridgeshire University was on their short courses, which did not amount to recognition as short courses did not need approval from the authorities because participants were usually awarded a certificates of attendance only. Furthermore, the courses were approved on the basis they would be conducted on tutorial basis only, he said.
Something doesn't add up. If the NST says it has letters of "approval for degree courses" but the Ministry only sent letters of "no approval required for short courses" either NST needs to learn how to read, Cambridgeshire is forging Govt of Malaysia official correspondence, or the Ministry of Higher Education uses very loose language in its official letters.

Reponse to Claim 3:
Touching on the letter from JPA to a query about the equivalent of the MBA and Ph.D from the Irish International University, he said the letter only merely stated a principle applied by the department that post-graduate qualifications were recognised on the condition that a person held a bachelor's degree recognised by the government.
Again this isn't a very satisfactory answer.
Is the academic history of the student the only criteria looked at by the dept when deciding the legitimacy of post-grad degrees? This would mean that an IIU MBA is legit if the student has a BA but a UPM MBA is not if the student didn't complete their BA.
Is the ministry acting responsibly when it chooses to cop-out from giving a proper answer (by stating a general principle) when faced with a specific question (on the status of IIU MBAs & Ph.Ds)?
Does the Ministry refer to university lists such as the International Association of Universities list of legit universities before shooting of glib answers?

Considering the recent controversy over the recognition of Medical degrees from CSMU, the Minister's answer & his Ministry's cavalier attitude is rather perplexing.

If I were keeping score, it would be NST 1-0 Ministry of Higher Education.

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