Eleven Hong Kong professors who obtained graduate degrees from a controversial Philippine university linked to Lifelong College finished through “normal channels” and successfully defended their theses.
Hong Kong Shue Yan University said they obtained their degrees from Bulacan State University (BSU), one of two Philippine affiliates of Lifelong College, Apple Daily reports.
The other is Tarlac State University (TSU) in the home town of President Benigno Aquino III.
Hong Kong authorities are investigating Lifelong for allegedly cranking out doctoral degrees by shortening the programs up to three years and helping candidates write theses for a fee.
Catherine Sun, vice president of Shue Yan University, told a press conference Thursday that the 11 faculty members received their BSU doctorate but their degrees were not fast tracked and their theses are not under suspicion.
Lifelong College offers the program in conjunction with the Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA).
But on Monday, HKMA distanced itself from Lifelong, saying it stopped recruiting students and promoting the program in 2014.
The scandal has embroiled Herdip Singh, an associate vice president and comptroller of Lingnan University who resigned last week amid an internal investigation into reports he plagiarized his TSU thesis.
Ten of the 11 Shue Yan University professors obtained doctorates in business administration, the other a master’s degree in the same study.
Eight work full-time and the others part-time, Sun said.
She said five enrolled in BSU through Lifelong and the rest through HKMA, walking back an earlier claim that all were recruited by the latter.
One got a degree after 18 months but the others took two to three years.
An internal investigation showed no plagiarism in their theses, she said.
They took the program between 2004 and 2008 when Shue Yan, then a college, was applying for university status.
That meant higher academic qualifications for the faculty, Sun said.
Asked why they chose BSU, Sun said one of their considerations was that they could get the degrees more easily.
It was a “matter of expediency”, she said.
Sun said Shue Yan will not ban its faculty from seeking BSU degrees but added they will be encouraged to consider other choices.
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