Shue Yan University (SYU), a private university in Hong Kong, has issued a statement claiming that their teaching staff with doctoral degrees from the Bulacan State University (BSU) in the Philippines were hired on the strength of their academic qualifications at master’s level, as well as their industry experience.

BSU was reportedly partnering with Lifelong College – a suspected “diploma mill” run by a Lingnan University top official – in order to reward students with degrees remotely. The doctoral degrees were found by Apple Daily to have been completed in a “flexible” manner, taking a much shorter time than usual.

At least ten teaching staff from SYU hold doctoral degrees from BSU.

Shue Yan University. Photo: Shue Yan University.

Accredited state university

At SYU’s Department of Business Administration, Head of Department (Admin) Ricky Szeto Wing-fu and Assistant Professor Lubanski Lam Che-fai both have a Doctor of Business Administration from BSU; In the Department of Economics and Finance, Assistant Professors Joe Wong Fuk-kin and Raymond Yeung Wai-man both claimed to have a PhD in business administration from BSU.

SYU’s statement said that the staff obtained the degrees from BSU through The Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA), and not the Lifelong College.

“The relevant programmes offered by BSU are registered under the Non-local Higher and Professional Education (Regulation) Ordinance (CAP 493) in Hong Kong.”

It added that BSU is an accredited state university: “Programmes at doctoral level include both course work and the writing of a dissertation/thesis. The average time taken by our academic staff to complete the programme was around three years.”

However, Apple Daily reported that some degrees obtained from HKMA were outsourced by Lifelong College.

Bulacan State University. Photo: Wikicommons.

Hired at masters’ level

SYU said that no staff members who have been employed for more than ten years were originally employed with degrees from BSU.

“They were employed as P/T and F/T teachers on the strength of their academic qualifications at master’s level, as well as their industry experience.”

Their continued employment was based on their teaching performance and SYU’s records showed they all had above average student evaluation scores, the statement read.

Upgrade in qualifications

SYU was formerly known as Shue Yan College, and was granted university status in 2006.

“The human resource requirement of a college is markedly different from that of a university. Hence, during the transition from Shue Yan College to Shue Yan University in the past decade, existing staff not qualified at the doctoral level sought to upgrade their qualifications, and have done so at their own volition.”

“The choice of institutions for this endeavour is made by the individuals involved, and the University does not play any role in this.”

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.