Sunday, January 20, 2008

Degrees at MIC linked college not recognized

A story by Malaysiakini on how twinning degrees offered by Kolej TAFE in Seremban is not recognized by the government. I think it is really disingenuous of any college to offer a degree that is not recognized by the government, especially a college which has links to one of the component parties in the BN, in this case, the MIC. I'll reproduce the story below and follow up with some comments of my own.

Ace student: MIC college cheated me
K Kabilan | Jan 19, 08 3:18pm

A MIC-run community college has been accused of misleading its students by not revealing that one of its popular degree programmes is not recognised by the government.

A former top student of the Tafe College in Seremban said that the college’s failure to disclose the status of its programme have spoilt the future of many students.

Perak-born CS Nachimani told Malaysiakini that he was not told that the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (a government agency formerly known as National Accreditation Board or LAN) had not approved or accredited the Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics System Design Engineering) degree which he pursued at Tafe.

“When I enlisted to do my degree at Tafe College in 1998, I was told that the approval was pending.

“After that not once the students were told that the approval or accreditation was rejected by LAN,” said 29-year-old Nachimani who graduated in 2002. The electrical engineering programme which he did was a twinning programme with UK-based -Northumbria University.

He claimed that there were about 150 students in his batch who were all in the same situation now.

“When I first joined Tafe and asked about the LAN approval, their response was that there would be no problems in getting the approval as it is a minister’s college,” he said.

The college, a brainchild of MIC president S Samy Vellu, is owned by the party, ostensibly to cater for the vocational educational needs of the Indian community. Samy Vellu is also the works minister.

College washes hands

Nachimani, who aced his degree examinations, was always a top scorer in his class. His lecturers thought highly of him and predicted that he would go places in his careers.

He has even published two electrical engineering theories in a UK-based trade magazine, and has a patent registered for one of the theories.

“But what’s the point. I am without a job now. If I had known the degree which I did with Tafe was not recognised by the government, I would have surely gone to study elsewhere,” he said.

He added that his problems only started when he applied to join a major educational institution as a lecturer about two years ago.

“Even since I graduated in 2002, I had lectured in smaller colleges to gain experience. And then a few years later I applied to one of the bigger ones and they told me that my degree was not recognised.”

He immediately approached his former college for clarification and was merely told off that they had failed to get the necessary approval.

A brief email response to him from the college administrator R Murgesu in November 2004 just told Nachimani that the course was not recognised as the course did not require students to complete any part of their course in the main university, in this case the Northumbria University.

“It means that the government would not recognise the electrical engineering course which was offered by Tafe on behalf of Northumbria locally,” explained Nachimani.

No help from Samy Vellu

When contacted by Malaysiakini, a spokesperson for Tafe College told that a change in government policy meant that the college had to stop offering Northumbria’s electrical engineering course.

At present the college is offering electrical engineering courses from Liverpool John Moore University, allowing students to complete two years here and finish their final year of degree in Liverpool.

However this course is also pending the approval and accreditation of LAN.

“They are up to the same thing again. I doubt if they are telling students about the approval part,” said Nachimani.

When Nachimani pressed the college to solve his problem, he was directed to Samy Vellu.

“I met Samy Vellu three times. He asked me to meet his aide, whom I had met 17 times. Still there is no solution to my problem,” he added.

He said that Samy Vellu had forwarded a letter to another MIC-run college for him to be offered a job but nothing has been forthcoming.

He was also advised by Samy Vellu’s aide to pursue his post-graduate study to overcome the non-recognition aspect of his degree.

Unfortunately for him even his post-graduate study which he did via correspondence in 2006 with an American university is not recognised by the government.

“It’s a double blow for me. And to top it off, I am being hounded now for the repayment of my education loan,” he said. He is presently jobless as all potential employers want his degree to be approved by the government.

Loans being defaulted

Nachimani has obtained study loans from MIC study loan agency MIED for both his degree and post-graduate studies. Now the agency is after him for repayment. In fact he has been sent a lawyer’s notice warning him of bankruptcy proceedings if he failed to cough up total sum.

“I borrowed about RM37,000 for my studies and with interest the outstanding amount stands at RM52,582.60. Monthly repayment comes about RM620. How can I repay when I have no work?” he asked.

He said that wherever he turned for help - from Tafe college to MIED, the only response he got was to go to Samy Vellu.

“But he has been unable to help me,” said an exasperated Nachimani. Samy Vellu could not be contacted for comment today.

“I have been cheated by Tafe. The college did not tell me and the other students the truth and they should correct their mistake.

“I want MIC, its president Samy Vellu and the college to come out with a solution for me. I am not going to be made a bankrupt for something which was not my mistake.

“I want my life back,” said Nachimani.


Thankfully, now that we have the list of government approved courses online, courtesy of the MQA, students can now check whether the courses they want to take at a certain college are indeed government approved. After checking the MQA website, I found out that only Diploma and Certification courses being offered by Kolej TAFE. Hence not only are students like Nachimani, who took the twinning course with Northumbria (no longer offer) are affected, but also potentially, the current batch of students at TAFE who are doing the twinning program with the Liverpool John Moore University.

The advice given by the aide to Samy Vellu is especially 'encouraging' which is to ask Nachimani to take a post graduate degree since his undergraduate degree is not recognized. (One point which the article fails to mention is which institution did Nachimani do his post graduate degree and why it is not recognized)

The plight of Nachimani raises 2 points:

Firstly, that all students who want to take degrees at a private college should make sure that these courses are recognized by the government. If the college in question says that approval is still pending, students should not take this degree, even if generous financial aid is given.

Secondly, there should be some sort of action which students can take, if after the completion of their degree, government recognition of that course is still pending or if that course is later canceled. There should be some sort of legal resources e.g. in the civil courts seeking damages or the MOHE can step in by potentially fining or punishing these institutions.

I find the actions of TAFE especially reprehensible since many of its students are probably like Nachimani, who had to take out loans to fund his studies. To then find out that their degree is not recognized by the government is like finding out that you've spent your money and your time on a 'worthless' piece of paper, if you will.

I'll be following this story closely and I hope that the MIC and the MOHE will respond to the questions raised by Nachimani's case.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity - how does one 'register' a patent on a 'theory'?

The English in TAFE's website is pretty horrendous. But then so too are the websites of many of the public universities.

~

Anonymous said...

me no write good ingliss, you no read good ingeris!

so make no difren if website of our unibersiti in lousee inglis

Anonymous said...

Is TAFE college a Hindraf college?

Anonymous said...

I suggest we send all our kids to Singapore to study. Or import Singapore academics and administrators to Malaysia.

rational thinker said...

eh, where's my previous comment?

Gregory Lawson said...

I know there is TAFE in Australia and it is widely recognized and lauded. Any info on Gerakan sponspored Wawasan Open University in Penang?

www.unirank.blogspot.com

Fikri said...

Writing an advertorial for HELP University College recently, I finished it and checked it back with the college authorities. The only thing that needed changing was the fact that I had mistakenly written "All the courses is recognised by the Ministry of Higher Education and the Malaysian Qualifications Agency." This, as it turns out, is not true, so I had to change it to, "Most of the courses..."

My point here is that it's not only relatively small colleges (certainly when TAFE is compared to HELP) that runs unapproved and unrecognised education programmes. Perhaps we should also keep an eye out for the big boys as well, like Taylor's and Sunway, amongst others.

Jason Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Lee said...

Seems like according to MQA website, bigger institutions like Sunway, TAR College etc runs alot of unapproved and unrecognized courses out of the many courses they offer.

In Nachimani's case, what about employment in private sector?

Anonymous said...

HELP is a huge culprit especially when managed by a Dr who is so shrewd and cunning, one gets sent to the cleaners and bleached without even knowing it. Their joint venture with a uni in Waga Waga was a real flop and many candidates were burnt by that experience that is not forgotten. That Dr so and so is still running programs with Indian institutions providing suspect MBAs. Heck nothing is being done about him and he is getting away with it.

Anonymous said...

Tony,
Please do us the great job of 'chastising' the fraud institutions or non fraud institutions but providing fraud degrees. Spare us the poor ignorant parents from being cheated of our life savings and our children's future

Anonymous said...

Dear All,

Does it surprise you? Even MCA's TAR colleage diplomas are also not recognised by the government. The reason? politics lah, what else?!

Anonymous said...

This is what happen when the educational institution is hijacked to do something else, rather than focus on education.
Degree recognition is not based on merit, it is based on politics.
As an employer, I would have a hard time telling which are the best candidates for the jobs I need to get done with the Malaysian degree granting process.
We recruit tops candidates from top colleges in the field important to us because we know the universities sceeen for the best students and really train them well. They can bring new ideas to industry. In return we also help fund some of their graduate programs.

regards,
Frank_C

Anonymous said...

What is the status of UTAR's Degree in Engineering and Quantity Surveying? The Lembaga does not list them.

Anonymous said...

If the lembaga does not recognise it then it is not recognized! Simple!

Anonymous said...

As a fellow employer, I have now started to recruit Malaysian graduating from NUS.

At least I am extremely certain they are the best and brightest Malaysians, and they are sufficiently trained. More expensive, yes, but they make my profit margins go up too!

eddie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Same case here...
3+0 Programmes of Northumbria University with Stamford College 223 and Sedaya College(UCSI).

Recently, I need the officil full transcript from northumbria univ, below is the reply from northumbria univ.

"Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with a full list if marks on one sheet. "

"The reason being is – although your diploma studies at Stamford were part of a 3 + 1 programme with Northumbria, you were not officially a NU student at this time so we cannot verify marks which were awarded by a different institution. "

Unbelievable....!!!
Malaysia education destroyed by foreigner or ourself ?
Waiting for 8th March election.

carmen said...

May i know Bachelor Degree from Campbell University taken in College Tunku Abdul Rahman, is recognized by goverment?
Where can i get this type of information?

Anonymous said...

Not only TAFE college faces the recognition problem, even TARC, an IPTA established by MCA, recieve 50% subsidy from government,is too not recognised by the BN government. Well, some may argue there are 20 courses of TARC listed on the JPA recognition list, but TARC offering 120 odd courses. More than 83% of its courses are not recognised. I think all of us should send enquiry email to MCA, MIC, JPA and MoHE to alert them about our concerns.

theva said...

can find any institude offer distance learning because i completed diploma in marketing and continue in deggre. can send me any link of collage on my mail id thevathas@math.com. thank you

wuenwuen said...

hm.. i can't see the 2 most prestigious colleges which are Taylors and Sunway are in the list of the Private institution... hehe.. still there are a lot of private colleges are not in the list like Inti, Segi? haha is it that really important to be approved by MQA?

I thought all the colleges have been approved by the goverment before their offical establishment in Malaysia???

What happen here actually?
What I heard is.. TARC/ UTAR is getting their reputation for their cert when comes to the job application. In fact, a lot of people are quite accept the graduates from these 2 colleges.

Does anyone know the actual situation?

wuenwuen said...

oops my mistake...

Taylors web site got stated that their programs are approved by MQA hehe...

I think now is the UTAR and TARC may face some problems now hehe

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of courses, which are not recognize by MQA. You can find the list from www.jpa.gov.my. I am TARCIAN and wonder why this thing happening to TARC as TARC is a college under MCA.

Anyway, if you are interested on government post, whereby our goverment so encourage other races inspite on Malay to join in, then you may not qualified to apply.Even though you get the offer, then you might need to check with particular department. In short, you are not qualified as long as our cert not recognized by MQA.
Else, in private sector, our cert have no problem at all.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nachimani,

I am sorry regarding your degree in tafe college but you also did an Americian post graduate course.
Well , with that i am quite sure that you should get a job.
I hire the employees in my company and i look at many other things beside the academic qualification although it is most important.

Anonymous said...

It would be very helpful if you could go into http://www.mqa.gov.my and check for courses accredited for TAFE.It would help you to compare the number of courses accredited for TAFE in relation to some other colleges and university colleges for engineering . It may also be useful to view the current TAFE website www.tafeseremban.edu.my and read the blogspot.

Accreditation does not happen overnight .It is an academic process which takes time and in line regulatory bodies' requirements.
All eligible students (meaning with the right entry requirements)
get loans from PTPTN ,MARA or MIED- in other words all are eligible for loans provided they do the paperwork.
All students have to do is study and at the end , jobs are waiting for them.
I hope some day you will take some time to visit TAFE!

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I'm a foreign student who is studying in Malaysia. I'd like to know if KLMU IT Degree is recognized by the Malaysian government. Actually. I'm upping to pursue my degree there. Tx

Anonymous said...

For the information of students who want to pursue a programme in a private college,the best method of finding out if a programme is accredited or not is to serve the official MQA WEBSITE which will provide you with the necessary information. The A code indicates the programme is accredited. If the college is able to offer you PTPTN loans for that particular programme, it also indicates the approval. For the information of students the accreditation process is a long one where the education department will give you an approval to run the programme and later validate the college and the programme. The college has to succesfully pass out a batch before it could possibly get the much talked about ACCREDITATION. I personally feel the particular student lacks the ability to present himself in the interview to impress his possible employees.

Anonymous said...

There are alot of Institutions of Higher Learning which are NOT recognized by the Malaysian Government but that doesn't mean you cannot get a job. For example, if you were to study at ABC University (UK) which the Malaysian govt does not recognized, that does not mean that the UK and other governments does not recognized as well. You may be surprised when one day after working abroad for many years and invented many great things; our govt would probably lay down the red carpet for you plus many bonuses despite your "NOT recognized" degree. As long as major countries such as US and UK recognized it, you should not worry too much, jobs should be available there.