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Bahamas institution implicated in South African controversy

St George University International (SGUI) in the Bahamas has been named in the controversy surrounding the newly-appointed vice-chancellor of a South African university.

The university issued Tshwane University of Technology vice-chancellor Johnny Molefe’s doctoral degree in business administration in 2002.

SGUI has been described by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as ‘‘dubious.’’

SAQA retracted their validation of Molefe’s degree after apparently confusing the unrecognised Bahamas institution with the accredited St George’s University, in Grenada, which offers medical degrees.

Research Caribbean could not verify the existence of this Bahamas-based institution or its programmes. Neither could SAQA.

However, an article in the South African Mail and Guardian newspaper, described the university as a degree mill.

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers is also doubtful about the Bahamas university.

The Bears’ Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning reported in 2003 that “SGUI has changed both its location and its language about accreditation since it first appeared (in 1997).’’

‘‘For a short time in 2003, SGUI claimed accreditation from the International University Foundation,’’ the guide said.

SGUI then ‘‘claimed accreditation by the American Theological Association.’’

Then SGUI claimed that it was ‘‘a private international university… and not accredited or recognised by any governmental ministry of education.”

SAQA has been challenging Molefe’s doctoral degree since 2007.

The TUT council insisted on appointing Molefe to the job, after which two council members resigned.

The South African ministry of higher education put the university under administration on 16 August 2011 as a result of Molefe’s appointment.