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Friday, 4 February 2011

NEW SWAZI UNIVERSITY SUBSTANDARD

The Swaziland Government is about to waste nearly E16 million (US$2.1 million) it can’t afford supporting the substandard Limkokwing University.


Up to 800 scholarships at E19 500 each per year are to be paid for, according to Wilson Ntshangase, Swazi Minister of Education.


Limkokwing is a private university based in Malaysia that has been rapidly spreading campuses across the world. After years of delay, Limkokwing says it will open in Mbabane, Swaziland, this April (2011). It wants to have a total of 1,000 students at start up.


But why is the Swaziland Government supporting this university? Limkokwing has been dogged by controversy nearly everywhere it opens. Chief among the complaints are that Limkokwing offers substandard courses, with poor academic quality and poor teaching.


Limkokwing in Botswana had so many complaints that the government there has decided to reduce the number of scholarships it offers from up to 5,000 to 400. The Botswana Government faces its own financial difficulties (but not as severe as in Swaziland) and decided Limkokwing should no longer be supported. There are fears that without government cash Limkokwing in Botswana will have to close.


The Botswana Guardian newspaper reported, ‘Inside sources say the move [closure of the Botswana campus] is likely to affect both Lesotho and Swaziland campus, which are the off-springs of the Gaborone branch.’


Limkokwing cannot escape the controversy about the quality of its courses. We need to remember that an organisation isn’t a ‘university’ just because it says it is. A proper university offers high quality courses to high quality students using high quality staff.

Limkokwing falls down on all of these. The quality of students it takes is poor. In Swaziland, for example, it says it will take students with three credits in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education. This is lower than the five credits needed for entry to the University of Swaziland (UNISWA), the kingdom’s only state-run university. I have written before that by international standards, the quality of the student intake at UNISWA is itself poor.

No student at a Limkokwing University should fail, according to its owner Tan Sri Dato Lim Kok Wing. He told a Malaysian newspaper, ‘It is my belief that no student should fail. If there are failures, then it is we who have failed them.’ Which, of course, means that lecturers will pass even the dullest and laziest students to avoid being criticised by their own bosses.


Then there is the quality of the staff. In Botswana there were complaints that many teachers were themselves recent graduates from the university. And not necessarily even ‘high fliers’. One report said some of the lecturers were still retaking their own courses at the state-run University of Botswana.


Over the past year Limkokwing has been advertising internationally for staff in its new campuses (including Swaziland). It states that applicants with bachelor degrees will be considered for posts. A proper university would expect staff to have Ph.D doctorate degrees.


In Botswana, Limkokwing was discovered illegally employing some lecturers.


Limkokwing itself has been less than clear about the way it ensures the quality of its courses. On websites it says, ‘all programs awarded by Limkokwing University are quality assured by the International Consortium of University Partners’. But ‘The International Consortium of University Partners’ doesn’t exist. On closer inspection it turns out that this ‘international consortium’ is a group of academics that Limkokwing has brought together itself to approve its courses. That means it is judging its own quality, but implying that they are independently reviewed. The consortium doesn’t approve courses for any university, except Limkokwing.


The Cambodian campus of Limkokwing claims that it has ‘premier status’ from the UK Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC). But this is not true. The ACIS website does not list Limkokwing Cambodia (but it does list Limkokwing’s London campus).


The Botswana Ministry of Education found that while Limkokwing University was highly recommended in Malaysia, the Botswana campus did not have the same status and that the Malaysia Quality Assurance (MQA) that approved courses in Malaysia did not recognise some of its Botswana subjects and qualifications.


So why is the Swaziland Government supporting Limkokwing? It can’t be because of the subjects it offers. A list of subjects offered in Swaziland published this week includes Graphic Designing, TV & Film Production, Architectural Technology, Advertising, Creative Multimedia, Information Technology, Event Management, Business Information Technology, Journalism and Media, Public Relations and Business Management.


It is difficult to see how any of these are relevant to the needs of Swaziland and why the Swazi Government should be paying public money for students to study them.


According to a report today (4 February 2011), in the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned and edited by King Mswati III, the government will pay for Limkokwing students ‘through its scholarships programme’.


If true, this must surely mean that money that would have been spent sending students to UNISWA will now be used for Limkokwing.


Why is the government doing this at the same time it is reducing the number of scholarships available at UNISWA? Students are set to march this week to protest at reduced scholarships; this misuse of government funds can only infuriate them further.


As I reported on Tuesday (1 February 2011), last year Limkokwing reportedly said it wanted the Swazi Government to ‘pay scholarships for 1,000 students for ten years. They also want to be exempted from paying tax and not be required to pay rentals for the premises they want to occupy.’


The government has given Limkokwing most of the scholarships – what other concession has it made to entice this substandard university to set up in Swaziland?


Tan Sri Dato Lim Kok Wing must be rubbing his hands with glee: see how easy it is to milk the Swazi Government.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Observer is not edited by the King but by the editor. Go and burn your balls...Fuseki

Richard Rooney said...

The Weekend Observer editor is on record in his own newspaper saying they would never publish anything about the Royal Family without the king's permission. That makes the king the editor.

The editor-in-chief of the whole Observer group is on record saying that the group will not publish anything that puts the king in a bad light. That makes the Observer a propaganda sheet, not a newspaper.

I hope that clarifies the situation for you.

Anonymous said...

"It states that applicants with bachelor degrees will be considered for posts. A proper university would expect staff to have Ph.D doctorate degrees."

Isn't it ironic that this is a university run by people with a schism regarding academia. On one hand they brag about what they can build without having any qualifications or experience of universities/education themselves (apart from sales to developing nations govs). On the other hand they award honorary Ph.Ds to themselves along with titles like "Prof. Emeritus" to keep the social conservatives perked and happy. They actually disdain real actual academics as they do students. They are the spanner in the works for works of the diabolical and relentless propaganda machine.

Their complaints and failings upset the dream captured on the billboards, web site and brochures. In order to make himself appear more important, the miller (Limkokwing) lied to a king, telling him that his daughters [and sons] will be able to spin straw into gold. Just like in Rumpelstiltskin.

They don't even need that useless remnant of colonial hegemony - the English language. They will obviously translate everything into Swazi... not.

Consider the fates of Prof. Tapitsa, Prof Neville de Cruz, Mr Edward Kemplsey (Bots) Dr Derek Nicoll Dr Dr. ‘Mamolete Mohapi (Lesotho) all were dismissed or resigned under shameful circumstances. Currently all campuses are being run by cult followers who are the eyes, eyes, ears and scapegoats of the hamfisted vp of hairdressing gail phung. they all dutyfullyt report that äll is well Tan Sri [which means 'lord'] the students are having fun with their lecturers and they " That is until people start getting shot... as they did in Lesotho.

"I really look up to Tan Sri, he has created so much more than a university; instead he is creating opportunities for his students and those around him. It is something so special."

yeah he's really great he's greater than we could ever be... at self-aggrandizement and pathological narcissic self-publicity... why doesn't he tout this in his classes... along with doing a uniuversity in a box, or are you just meant to cotton on?

Anonymous said...

Just a heads up for you all in Swaziland about Limkokwing, the recent "consortium" they have formed is actually a clever way to avoid having real accreditation. When looking for Limkokwing's accreditation first realize that Limkokwing got its first and only actual accreditation from Curtin University of Australia, it was NOT based on academics at all, sadly it was based on a land deal, Limkokwing gave a free campus in Sarawak to Curtin University in exchange for accreditation.
Other nations where Limkokwing is found have ALL denied the school acceditation, thus Limkokwing (being clever) has devised this "consortium" to avoid the need for real accreditation, what that means is all students graduating from Limkokwing have NO REAL DEGREE, but allot of real wasted time and money. Also please note that Limkokwing has also been found to have bribed the ministry of Education in Lesotho in exchange for nearly 250 ghost students all on man-power loans from the Lesotho Government, thus Limkokwing has cheated not just the actual students at its school but also the kingdom of Lesotho and encouraged the Ministry of Education in Lesotho to commit fraud on its own people. This is also rumored to have happened in Botswana as well, it is the case as well in Cambodia, so it could very likely be happening in Swaziland too. I used to be head of International Relations for Limkokwing, that's how I know about these things, my life has been threatened if I reveal such things, thus I remain anonymous.