By Ackel Zwane | 2018-11-23
IT may not be a diplomatic scandal that Swazi students are lost at sea at the backyard MingDao University in Taiwan but this should be a wakeup call not only to governments but to parents and students alike that it is not all the glitters on that internet that is genuine.
Now we must summon our non-existent resources to rescue the Swazi slaves in MingDao.
It is a pity that this development has tainted the image of otherwise glossy Republic of China on Taiwan and a true friend of Eswatini, diplomatically and all other else.
No doubt the situation in MingDao is no bed of roses for our children who travelled so far in the quest for education.
Realities have emerged to the surface for us this end who are unaware or lack the imagination of the trials and tribulations that our children go through so many waters away: cash, clothing, food, stereotyping (or it could be outright racism) and so on.
We don’t know whether the mainstream universities in Taiwan where Swazi students attend have any empathy for them and the rest of other students outside Taiwan but we would have heard. We can only hope that the MingDao harrowing experience is an isolated damper.
Salesmen who have been in the diaspora flock to Africa in search of unsuspecting students yearning for education with the aim of luring them to some backyard farms in the league of MingDao, establishments that masquerade as reputable universities where very lucrative commissions are paid out to these individuals.
They travel from campus to campus, run highly attractive advertisements about learning environments to the levels of heaven, targeting skills development events and graduate meetings speaking of the plush life of studying abroad and the warmth of the citizens of those countries, the warm hospitality of the families in and around the cities.
Now at MingDao our children tell us that they work for 40 hours a week, about 10 hours a day on average, in a cold room where they peel off chicken skins in a room below ten degrees Celsius in exchange for lessons and accommodation.
Now this is nothing but serfdom if not outright slave or forced labour. But if these students or their parents were careful enough to make a background check instead of being carried away by the prospects of studying abroad they would have known better or read in between the lines what MingDao is all about: MingDao University (MDU), with the motto of Vision, Passion, and Action, was established in 2001.
After ten years of development, this university has gradually transformed into a university-industry liaison system of the organicism, green energy, and health.
It has four colleges which are Humanities, Design, Management and Applied Science. Besides, the MDU Chinese Language Center will provide you an excellent programme for cultivating your Chinese comprehension abilities.
MDU is located in the center of Taiwan and has very rich agriculture products ie vegetable, fruit, flower and rice. MingDao University stands on what was once the sugarcane field 11 years ago.
You can easily reach our University from the Highway of Yunlin toll fee collection station.
This reminds one of a time we were at the National University of Lesotho with professors who did their education in the former Soviet Union.
We got to learn how most of these actually spent days on end skinning pigs and peeling fish all because they are far away from home and most of them exiled during the Cold War but prospects of bringing home a foreign obtained qualification was just too tempting and an opportunity never to be forfeited.
This April the Irish Times broke a spine chilling expose about a bogus university selling unaccredited qualifications to overseas students that was operating out of Dublin, as part of an international ‘degree mill’ network.
Hardeep Singh (54) is the president of ‘Isles International University’, which has been operating in Ireland for nearly two decades under various names.
Isles International poses online as a Dublin-based college offering degrees in accounting, business and human resources.
The company is not an accredited higher education institution, and targets overseas students (from countries like Eswatini) with the promise of earning an Irish university qualification online that holds ‘international recognition’.
Last year the company, which is registered to a post box in Fairview, north Dublin, reported an income of €115 000, according to financial accounts.
The title of university is legally protected, so the group is registered under the name “Institud Idirnaiseuintanah Eireann den Aontas Eorpach”.
The company says on its website its qualifications are backed by the “Quality Assurance Commission” (QAC) of the United Kingdom. However the QAC is simply a company name registered in the UK by Singh, to a post box in Riverside Business Park, Wales.
Previously the group went by the name Irish International University, and European Business School. Singh, founder of the bogus university, is living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Credo Trust offers online courses for professional diplomas, sometimes under the moniker Cambridge Global Learning. Courses include diplomas in “accelerative learning”, and the group does not claim to offer academic degrees.
Documentation for an online ‘postgraduate professional diploma’, the fee for which is £1,150, states the course is accredited by the QAC. The document goes on to claim students will be able to proceed to a PhD in behavioural science elsewhere afterwards.
If the MingDao experience is not the equivalent of human trafficking then tell me what it is.
If one were to take stock of whose children form part of the MingDao crowd none is from the privileged classes of our society whose children study somewhere on the other end of the globe where their parents can visit them every now and then.
These are the children of those mainly responsible for the E80 million a month cash drain in corruption from the now already putrid economy.
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