Fake degrees

Fake Chinese certification leads to expulsions from British university.

Wonder which agency was involved in this? I briefly worked for a Chinese agency, and while nothing illegal was happening, the focus was very much ‘bums on seats’ and without outright fraud, there was a focus on how they could twist and misrepresent to get people in. Who does it benefit?

It’s a topic for debate in the UK right now. Many countries, Taiwan included (read in another thread), have a cap on numbers for foreign students. Britain doesn’t and poorer universities love the fees that non-EU overseas students bring, so have low English language requirements; 5.5 or 6 only in IELTS. These students who are not really able to contribute then have to work alongside English-speaking students who have also paid tuition fees. Leads to a lot of two-way resentment.

I recently read another article about Chinese students’ perception of UK education which can be fairly negative. Unsurprisingly, the students at good quality universities which required high levels of English language ability had a more positive experience than those who were in a small uni which didn’t require such high qualifications. They said that they felt isolated because they couldn’t socialise much, that teachers didn’t make special allowances and that they found it impossible to get good grades.While that sounds stupid and fairly obvious at first, how many of them are manipulated into doing a pointless foreign degree to make money for others? Or is it pointless? Is it better to have a foreign piece of paper and no actual knowledge, or ‘the knowledge’, gained in your native language and a less prestigious piece of paper?

Studying for a degree in another language is not easy and not a lot of people can do it, but it is being sold as a middle class rite of passage, these days, which is absurd and not in anyone’s interest, unless they are on the receiving end of the cash.

And to the students; while I understand it may not have been your idea, you went along with it. Disgusting behaviour. For shame. You devalue Taiwan and China in the world.

Oh you’d be amazed. My graduate school started to perform, “due diligence”, on all students after 3 students in the same year from a certain populous Asian nation that is sometimes associated with fake DVDs got busted for: 1) fake test scores :astonished: , 2) fake work experience :blush: 3) fake degree :unamused: .

This is so, so common.

When I was doing my Masters in Aus, one of my professors confided in me toward the end of the course that he was 100% sure that a number of Chinese and Taiwanese had gotten onto the course with fake documents. They really struggled to get through the work and were constantly asking for extensions on their papers. Many of them failed paper after paper.

After I graduated, this same professor wrote to me and told me that they had just expelled 9 Chinese and Taiwanese students from the Applied Linguistics program for plagiarism. Shock, surprise, right? :unamused:

Probably true, but the IELTS handbook, p5 (Most Australian unis require IELTS scores) says that linguistically demanding courses such as linguistics should require a band score of 7.5-9. Very doubtful that your university insisted on this? Who’s to 'blame? Probably not the student or the teacher. I’ve met veeery few Taiwanese students with English at this level. Why do schools take their money then act surprised when they don’t make the grade?

If you have only a 6 or 6.5, you would not be able to read applied linguistics texts to any degree of depth or extent, would not be able to follow lectures and would not be able to participate equally in seminars. That, combined with the culture shock of being young in a very different educational context doesn’t sound like a recipe for success for the majority…

I have been thinking about this problem for a few years now, and I think there should be a database of graduates from accredited universities that prospective universities and employers can access to find out if degrees are genuine. The IELTS has a system like that, and I know that the uni I work for now in the UAE have weeded out quite a few people with fake IELTS results that look pretty damn near genuine. They just check on their database and see if the person and results are there or not as a means of validating them.

Documents are too easy to forge. They can be made to look identical and this causes a host of problems in universities, as the article in this thread suggests. The problem must be so much more widespread than we can ever imagine. However, so many universities in the West are suffering from a lack of numbers and depend on foreign students…it is because of this that I think a blind eye is often turned on the situation.

Probably true, but the IELTS handbook, p5 (Most Australian unis require IELTS scores) says that linguistically demanding courses such as linguistics should require a band score of 7.5-9. Very doubtful that your university insisted on this? Who’s to 'blame? Probably not the student or the teacher. I’ve met veeery few Taiwanese students with English at this level. Why do schools take their money then act surprised when they don’t make the grade?[/quote]

This is true. The university I went to required a 6.5 for the Applied Linguistics Masters. Far too low for that type of course.

I don’t think they were surprised by any means that they couldn’t hack it. Again, it’s an issue with universities not having the numbers they want / need to survive, and as such lowering the bar to accept overseas students that are not up to the work that is required of them. Hence the lower IELTS requirements. Hey, these students might fail out or barely pass, but none of that matters as long as they have paid their overseas tuition fees. :s

But these students should know better too. They don’t seem to care, though. The goal of many students I met was simply to get a bare pass and go back to their home countries with a degree from an English-speaking country. Good face. Higher-paying jobs. Who gave a crap if nothing was learned, after all?

[quote=“Buttercup”].While that sounds stupid and fairly obvious at first, how many of them are manipulated into doing a pointless foreign degree to make money for others? Or is it pointless? Is it better to have a foreign piece of paper and no actual knowledge, or ‘the knowledge’, gained in your native language and a less prestigious piece of paper?

[/quote]

Just to address this point - I personally believe (and most from a Western education system probably agree) that the knowledge is a lot more important than a foreign uni in a different language. But to the expanding middle and rich classes in China, the “face” gained by the foreign uni is probably a lot more important than any knowledge.

I study in NTU for my degree in finance, and teachers NEVER give any sort of allowances for us, foreign students. Yes, it’s impossible to get good grades and to compete with local students, and I must confess that when exams are held in Chinese, I get only 60-70 (the highest was 76, “Derivatives” course, due to significant improvement in my Chinese, on my 8th semester). And I have 80-90 when exam is in English or another language (96 for my German ^^) .

[quote=“Buttercup”][url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/7722943.stm]
While that sounds stupid and fairly obvious at first, how many of them are manipulated into doing a pointless foreign degree to make money for others? Or is it pointless? Is it better to have a foreign piece of paper and no actual knowledge, or ‘the knowledge’, gained in your native language and a less prestigious piece of paper?
[/quote]

It is not pointless: even if one gets poor degree at the end, still he/she has a chance to improve foreign language abilities (English in their case, Chinese in mine), to live, study in totally different environment, etc. Perhaps, the diploma is just a piece of paper, but when you get that experience of study and living abroad, it is a real knowledge and it has its value.

Sure, I agree, it is better to study at foreign prestigious school than at some no-name-university.

I study in NTU for my degree in finance, and teachers NEVER give any sort of allowances for us, foreign students. Yes, it’s impossible to get good grades and to compete with local students, and I must confess that when exams are held in Chinese, I get only 60-70 (the highest was 76, “Derivatives” course, due to significant improvement in my Chinese, on my 8th semester). And I have 80-90 when exam is in English or another language (96 for my German ^^) .[/quote]

Yes, the same is true in Britain, so the Chinese students fail, or the crappy schools pass them any way which leads to resentment from the Brits. My point was that a huge amount of Chinese and Taiwanese students drop out or have a very costly, negative experience, in order to make money for others. Some see it as part of getting the ‘paper’, many don’t and there is a rising tide of dissatisfaction in Chinese-speaking students about being treated as cash cows.

I’m not in any way suggesting that allowances should be made, but when taking the money, and knowing that the student has a very small chance of success without plagiarism, then I would say that that’s not acceptable. An institution has to offer a modified program, or raise the language bar.

[quote=“Weilina”]
It is not pointless: even if one gets poor degree at the end, still he/she has a chance to improve foreign language abilities (English in their case, Chinese in mine), to live, study in totally different environment, etc. Perhaps, the diploma is just a piece of paper, but when you get that experience of study and living abroad, it is a real knowledge and it has its value.

Sure, I agree, it is better to study at foreign prestigious school than at some no-name-university.[/quote]

I think you missed my point slightly there which was they don’t improve because there is no infrastructure to help them. I’ve taught a lot of these kids. The vast majority go home very disillusioned because they don’t have the skills to be able to ‘take advantage’ in the way that you seem to be doing. The vast majority rarely even interact with British students or teachers because they speak very little English. I’m not talking about somebody with your language skills, Weilina (I’m sure you are great at Chinese; you’re a talented language learner), I’m talking about students at around IELTS band 6.

I got you when you say they are “isolated” and e.t.c.
But, I still think that they will get some benefits, however. And if a person can’t do that, he or she must be so stupid, that a degree from Chinese/Taiwanese university won’t help as well.

I believe that living abroad, adjusting to the new environment, being influenced are also valuable assets.

I have a Taiwanese friend who studied in some university in Edinburgh, mixed all the time with Taiwanese, now speaks poor English and has forgotten almost everything he was taught at school - but: 1. he thinks of himself as of cosmopolitan person and it helps him to communicate with his foreign customers. 2nd. his foreign paper gives him better opportunity than any from local uni.

I understand what Taiwanese/Chinese people get out of it. I’m interested in the wider questions it raises.

What I mean is, is it ok for universities to mislead unqualified students in order to make money? What effect does that have on the universities and the wider student body? Will it lead to a completely uneducated superclass who are creaming the top jobs from ordinary Taiwanese grads who didn’t get daddy to bankroll the UK adventure, and actually studied? 49 from one university is a high number. What effect does that have on Brits’ perception of east Asian students as a whole (in the same dumb, racist way that one pervert whitey in the Apple Daily makes the average Taiwaner look down on waiguoren as a whole), especially now that melamine stories are all over the British press, and Chen’s arrest is on the front page of the BBC Asia Pacific site? Which agencies are responsible for dealing with these issues?

I guess it’s a Brit-forum question, not a Taiwan-forum question.

I study in NTU for my degree in finance, and teachers NEVER give any sort of allowances for us, foreign students. Yes, it’s impossible to get good grades and to compete with local students, and I must confess that when exams are held in Chinese, I get only 60-70 (the highest was 76, “Derivatives” course, due to significant improvement in my Chinese, on my 8th semester). And I have 80-90 when exam is in English or another language (96 for my German ^^) .[/quote]

Yes, the same is true in Britain, so the Chinese students fail, or the crappy schools pass them any way which leads to resentment from the Brits.[/quote]I think many previously OK universities are being forced to drop their standards because of financial pressures. I knew some people who passed their MAs who weren’t even capable of thinking or writing at an undergraduate level.

No need to get personal…

[quote=“Buttercup”]No need to get personal…[/quote]Sorry? Do you mean my use of “capable” sounds a bit nasty? I suppose it does. What I mean is that the ideas these students were expressing weren’t really worthy of a decent undergraduate assignment, even. And while the tutors did their best, they didn’t have nearly enough time to coach the students to produce a higher quality of work. But I’m quite sure that the university put a lot of pressure on the tutors to let standards slip and pass work that would previously have been rejected.

Sorry, just silly joke.

I don’t think that universities mislead those students. Students know what type of school they enter, and they chose it because they know rules: they pay to have an Engurish diploma, and unis admit students who are willing to pay for it. That’s all. My friend entered such a university, because he wasn’t able to qualify for any decent school in Taiwan. Moreover, he graduated from a college, that means he wouldn’t be capable to study at Master programme here. But due to translation biases he managed to get admission in the UK, and actually the tuition fee he paid there wasn’t unaffordable. Anyone can do it, one only needs determination. It isn’t the case that only reach can send their baobeis to study abroad.

[quote=“Buttercup”]
I guess it’s a Brit-forum question, not a Taiwan-forum question.[/quote]
Sorry…

We booted them all out. Are we the minority?

Interesting perspective, but a western one.

I think the system works quite well. You have Chinese/Taiwanese students with fake certificates and grades to get into a western university where they continue to plagiarize until they get their degree proving their proficiency in plagiarism.

Then they go back home where local companies realize that these students who went overseas are the best plagiarizers ever and hire them for their skills. Their jobs (at least in Engineering) consist of obtaining European / American products, pulling them apart and copying them and finally manufacturing a cheaper & crappier version.

That’s all I have to say. :bow:

We have many students from China (less from Taiwan), who get fake (in sense of quality) degree in exchange for money. And it gives even more meaning to the expression “exchange for money”, taking into consideration corruption in Russia. They simply pay for every exam, for every grade, for everything. Russian unis are milking their money.

But I guess, It works like a separate market sector and have nothing to do with the education. We just know that foreigners have their conditions, and we have another. The perception regarding Chinese students: they all come here not to study but to work illegally. Though it isn’t true, and many of them are really want to obtain knowledge.

Even worse than all that, someone who shall remain nameless, borrowed my real CELTA certificate, lost it, and the snotty bastards at Club CELTA won’t give me a new one in case it gets faked. Had it been a Cambridge University Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics, a replacement certificate would be £7.50.

What is the world coming to?