After Venerable Ming Yi’s qualifications had been publicised over last week, people have started checking up on Venerable Ming Yi’s qualifications and realised that his qualifications are not recognised in Singapore.

A check with the local offices also turned up a blank. Venerable Ming Yi apparently obtained his doctorate from a Mannin University in Ireland = however, when people started checking up on it, they realised that they could not find anything about it.

This caused people to question the credibility of his degree, to which, he replied that he was introduced the distance learning course when he was doing his masters and it never occurred to him to check the credibility of the university.

The thing about publicity is that it’s a 2-edged sword. It can help you and it can make you fall. I hope he’d be in the clear soon and whether the probe turns out anything is another story.

THE Buddhist monk mired in controversy over irregularities in the books of the Ren Ci Hospital and Medicare Centre is now facing another set of questions – over his doctorate.

Venerable Ming Yi’s resume says he holds a PhD in philosophy from a ‘Mannin University’ in Ireland, but checks by The Straits Times with the British Council, the Irish Embassy here and the Irish education authorities showed that neither the university nor its qualifications were recognised there.

Through a spokesman, Venerable Ming Yi said at the weekend that he did his doctorate through distance learning, but never checked if the university awarding the degree was recognised.

Readers have been writing in to ask about his PhD after The Sunday Times ran a profile on the Ren Ci chief on Nov 11.

Netizens have also started questioning the credibility of his degree.

Like other readers, education consultant Larry Lim said he had never heard of Mannin University.

He said he had tried checking, but could not even find a website for it.

‘It is highly questionable when a university does not even have a website. Does the university even exist?’ he asked.

When The Straits Times asked the Irish Embassy here whether the university in question was real, the embassy said that the Irish Department of Education and Science did not recognise Mannin University or its qualifications.

Ireland’s Higher Education Authority, the statutory body for higher education and research there, said there were seven official universities in Ireland, and Mannin was not one of them.

Press officers for both the department and the University College Dublin, one of the seven recognised Irish universities, said they had never heard of Mannin University.

Recognised institutions aside, the Irish Department of Education and Science said that ‘it cannot give advice on other organisations purporting to offer higher education programmes or comment on the quality of courses offered by such institutions’.

While Venerable Ming Yi’s PhD qualifications are highlighted on several websites such as Wikipedia and Buddhist resource site Singapore Dharma Net, online searches for the university itself drew a blank.

But The Straits Times found on the Web two individuals who claimed to have graduated from Mannin University. One is the head of a group promoting human rights in the Maldives, and the other a man who runs a chain of gyms in Thailand.

Neither could be reached for comment.

Venerable Ming Yi broke an earlier silence on the subject on Saturday after repeated queries by The Straits Times.

Through a Ren Ci spokesman, he said that someone introduced him to the PhD programme at Mannin University while he was doing his master’s in health-care management at the University of Wales, an accredited institution.

The spokesman said Venerable Ming Yi, a former student of Raffles Institution, did a distance learning course with Mannin University, but had never visited its campus.

He would not give any more details on how the monk obtained the PhD.

‘Venerable Ming Yi did the PhD as he wanted to learn more, but he did not check if the university or its degrees are recognised,’ he said.

theresat@sph.com.sg

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 19th November 2007



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