Saturday, February 28, 2009

3 UK varsities deny links to private school

3 UK varsities deny links to private school
Sun, Mar 01, 2009
The Straits Times

By Amelia Tan

A PRIVATE school has been ordered by three British universities to stop claiming links with them and to remove their logos from its website.

Lincoln School of Management, which offers distance-learning courses from Malaysian and Australian universities, was told two weeks ago to take down the logos of Coventry University, Napier University and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) from its website.

It did so on Wednesday. Before that, its website had listed the universities as Lincoln's 'partners', claiming that they were accepting its advanced diploma graduates for enrolment.

It also claimed that Lincoln's graduates could get credit exemptions at the three universities.

The three-year-old school has about 230 students enrolled in diploma, basic degree, master's and doctoral courses in fields such as nursing, international business and hospitality management.

Last week, British magazine Times Higher Education quoted the universities' spokesmen as denying any ties with Lincoln.

When The Straits Times met Lincoln's chief executive Adeling Tong at the school in Midlink Plaza in Middle Road on Wednesday, she said it 'previously had links' with the universities.

She produced Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) signed by the varsities' representatives in 2007 and last year. 'I had the understanding that since these documents were signed, we could list the universities as partners on our website and our students could also get course exemptions,' she said.

But the universities' spokesmen said the MOUs were not legally binding and did not represent any collaboration with Lincoln. UCLan's spokesman said: 'The signing of a non-legally binding MOU is a statement which acknowledges the presence of the institution with a possibility of future collaboration. However, no collaboration between UCLan and Lincoln has taken place.'

He added that the MOU did not exempt Lincoln students from UCLan modules and that all applications for entry would be considered on merit.

The universities informed Lincoln two weeks ago that since no official tie-up had been inked, it should remove their logos and course details from its website.

Coventry's pro vice-chancellor for international development David Pilsbury said: 'Coventry University simply requires that Lincoln did not market a relationship that did not exist legally or operationally, as this would disadvantage students.'

Ms Tong, when asked why Lincoln did not remove the logos immediately, said she was away in the past two weeks and was going to see to the matter on her return.

The universities' spokesmen said they are pleased the logos and course details have since been taken down.

Meanwhile, Lincoln's students seemed unaware of the exchange. Many said they did not even know their school had claimed links to the universities.

A third-year international business student who did not want to be named said: 'We were told that students in my batch didn't fulfil the criteria to be eligible for transfer of credits, so the scheme was not actively promoted to us.'

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

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