Controversy over educationist’s degrees viral on the Net

(The Star) – A high-profile Chinese educationist is in the spotlight again.

His doctorate degrees are in question, as the American university where he obtained the degree from has been shut down by the American authorities.

His resume was uploaded on a non-governmental organisation website that he is attached to, stating that he had two doctorates from the Kensington University.

He is said to have a PhD in education from Kensington University in 1993 and another PhD from the same university in 1991. The California court ordered the university to be shut down in 1996. It then shifted its operations to Hawaii but was subsequently shut down by the High Court there in 2003.

The controversy over his two doctorates has been circulating on Twitter and blogs, including the blog, over the past weeks.

The status of his doctorates was first brought up by another Chinese educationist.

The educationist implicated declined to comment when asked about the status of his Kensington University doctorate.

He asked The Star to text him the question saying he had lost his voice and could not speak to the reporter.

However, the SMS to him was not replied.

One of the NGO’s officials has refuted the allegations saying they had printed a booklet on the matter in 2009 to clear the air.

“We have studied the matter and find that the allegations about the status of the degrees are baseless.

“We had published a booklet on it in 2009,” he said.

According to the website, the educationist also obtained a doctorate from Southern Cross University in Australia in 1999.

It stated that he has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of East Asia, Macau, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of London.

The Los Angeles Times on April 23, 1996, questioned the status of Kensington University, saying it had no classrooms, laboratories or dormitories with the entire campus housed in a small office building.

It said the school ran a programme, in which students studying at home could earn anything from a bachelor’s degree to a doctorate; all without ever attending a single class or even meeting their instructors face-to-face.

It also reported that Kensington handed out advanced degrees, which have little, if any academic value and had allegedly perpetrated fraud in the public.

The Council for Private Post-Secondary and Vocational Education, which enforced rules in California, investigated the university.

The report said that in 1994, a review of the university found routine acceptance of below-par students, awarding inflated credit for so-called life experience and not having enough faculty.

In one case, reviewers found that the school awarded a doctoral candidate in psychology credit for reading magazine articles and doing about a dozen short reaction stories, the newspaper reported.

It also reported that the school also awarded doctorate degrees based on “as little as four months’ work”.

The Kensington University also saw a prominent American politician Jennifer Caroll caught in a controversy after she was exposed by CBS Television for claiming to have a degree from the same university.

The Florida politician, who claimed she had a MBA from the university, was forced to quit from the National Commission on Presidential Scholars in disgrace.