The Hong Kong Management Association is eager to wash its hands from the scandal involving Lifelong College, which the Education Bureau is investigating for allegedly cranking out degrees.
The HKMA said its role was to recruit students and promote diploma programs for the college, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.
In a statement issued Sunday, the HKMA, which provides access to degree and diploma programs in management, admitted it did cooperate with Tarlac State University (TSU) in offering its degree of doctor of education in educational management and with Bulacan State University (BSU) in offering its PhD in business administration.
It claimed it had ceased enrolling new students for those two programs in February 2014.
However, a reporter for the newspaper found information on the two courses on the HKMA website as recently as last week.
That information was later deleted.
The two universities are Philippine affiliates of Lifelong College, which was founded in 1998 by Alex Lee Ye-lick, a member of the Lingnan University council.
Apple Daily previously reported that the college fast-tracked degrees, awarding them to students up to two years early.
Herdip Singh, associate vice president and comptroller of Lingnan University, resigned last week after more than 30 years at the university following Lingnan’s decision to launch an investigation into allegations the doctoral thesis he submitted to TSU had involved wholesale plagiarism.
The HKMA said the Hong Kong offices of TSU and BSU are managed by Lifelong and are responsible for approval of student admissions and exemptions, assessment of course work, dissertations and oral defense of the dissertations, recommendation of qualified candidates to the universities for graduation, and maintaining a registry of students and graduates.
The statement said the HKMA was responsible for, among other things, program promotion, recruitment of students, administrative support, coordination work and part of the teaching arrangements.
It said it has never altered students’ admission records and would not agree with any alteration of student admission records, including but not limited to admission dates.
Despite the statement, the Education Bureau still sees HKMA as the operator of the programs offered by TSU and BSU, the report said.
As some in the education circle urged the government to close similar loopholes, Fung Wai-wah, president of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, said deceit was the center of the scandal.
He said the reason students would want to enroll themselves in the courses is they trusted the reputation of the HKMA, but they only realized later they had been “sold” to Lifelong, just like piglets.
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