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Published by Afterschool.my on Dec 09, 2016, 04:21 pm
The MQA is pursuing action against 11 universities under suspicion of selling fake degrees where students don’t have to attend classes.
The “quick degrees” sentiment is coming under scrutiny as the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) is taking action against 11 alleged universities that sell fake or fraudulent degrees. The agency has also warned the public about such universities, according to report by the sun daily.
While some of these universities are being investigated, two universities will be brought to court and are to face legal action. One of these institutions will be fined RM20,000 and the legal action against the other is still unclear. Additionally, MQA is taking action after the agency was approached by individuals alleging that they have been victims of such schemes.
MQA chief executive office Datuk Rujhan Mustafa said the claims by these colleges to get a quick degree qualification was simply too good to be true. Such claims became the main motive to investigate the issue. Some of these institutions claimed to be able to give diploma, degree and even a master’s or PhD within days.
"That is totally unethical and illogical. How can you study seven days and get a degree? Don't be cheated,” he said.
Additionally, he explained that students need to complete 60 – 90 hours to obtain a diploma, at least 120 hours for a degree, and minimum of 40 hours to get a master’s degree. Rujhan also added that these institutions were not registered with the Higher Education Ministry and have not been accredited by MQA. According to MQA, most victims are from the lower income bracket who are looking for a better job and try to earn qualifications that would enable them to do so. However, there seems to be individuals who are considered educated and have reasonably sustained financial capabilities who fell for these fraudulent offers.
"More well to do people have fallen for these scams as well. They just wanted a quick master’s or doctorate," he said.
It seems that the MQA has no reliable statistics on the number of degree mills. The MQA act passed in 2007 was fully enforced last year. However, the MQA still acts on fraudulent academic qualifications if received reports from the public, then the agency’s Integrity Unit will initiate an investigation and then report to the ministry of higher education on the matter for further action.
According to Mohamad Azley Ahmad, MQA’s Integrity Unit director, investigations are carried on based several grounds and the penalties depend on the type of offense committed. Penalties range from RM100,000 fine, or two years in jail, or both, RM200,000 fine, or three years of jail, or both, and RM200,000 fine, or five years in jail, or both respectively.
The public is advised to check with MQA if the institution and the course they are about to enrol in is accredited. This can be done by visiting the agencies website or through direct contact.