Thursday, August 4, 2011

Molefe's Unaccredited Doctorate Continues to Cause Much Debate at TUT

Pearl Nicodemus

The Tshwane University of Technology council has spent the last week defending itself in the media for appointing Prof. Johnny Molefe as Vice Chancellor despite his invalid doctorate from St. George’s University in the Caribbean. The qualification was obtained online and the university no longer exists.

The South African Qualifications Authority which had initially accredited the Business Administration doctorate says it later changed its decision claiming it had made a mistake and informed Molefe of this in 2007 – four years before accepting the vice chancellor post at TUT. The council has been quoted saying neither the university nor Molefe could have known the status of St. George’s at the time.

In a statement council member Robert Matlhare says TUT has been shopping around for an institution willing to accredit the doctorate.

“Five international universities are willing to accredit the doctorate including South East University in China.”

The university’s Soshanguve campus SRC says it’s not Molefe’s fault and they believe he may not have been alerted before. The SRC says his experience should override the legitimacy of the qualification. “We endorse for the fact that SAQA, they are supposed to do the verification before he became DVC,” says Ngwato Maila TUT Soshanguve SRC Chairperson.

Many students oppose the SRC president the qualifications should have been verified. One student says: “Having a fake qualification is really inappropriate.” Another says, “I can’t be led by someone with a fake doctorate and be expected to feel good about that.”

A third student says, “we may also be tempted to do the same in future – fake these qualifications.”

The Democratic Alliance has also requested that an investigation be conducted on the matter.

Higher Education Minister, Dr. Blade Nzimande, has threatened to put the university under administration if he is not given sufficient reasons for Molefe’s appointment before Friday.

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