BC’s Douglas College is a Canadian institution with campuses in China offering courses in finance and business to hundreds of Chinese students. But recently, some serious questions have been raised about the integrity of the international joint program.
“It was outright fraud,” said Robert Buller, a former Dean of Commerce and Business Administration at the college.
Buller and two other former teachers are speaking out, saying that Canadian credentials were given to unqualified students in China. Many of the students barely understand English, even after graduating, they say.
Former teacher Richard Thwaites taught finance at Douglas College in China for five years. He says that in one case, he failed 83 of the 115 students during a finance test. But he told 16×9 that a Chinese teaching assistant reversed all but one of the failed grades.
“In Chinese post-secondary education, there’s a culture, there’s a mentality, there’s a belief that every student passes. . . . I have had Chinese faculty members tell me that they have been ordered to pass the students,” he says.
The former Douglas staff members 16×9 spoke to say the college administration knew about the problem but has done nothing for years. Buller showed 16×9 documented proof, what he called registrar’s records of doctored grades, that he says he took to the president of Douglas College, Scott McAlpine.
“The president [McAlpine] looked only at the first sheet and then terminated the meeting . . . He got up from the meeting table, walked away and said to me that he needed plausible deniability. And he wanted to see and hear nothing,” says Buller.
But when 16×9 asked McAlpine about the meeting, he said he had no memory of it.
“I have not seen that document to my recollection,” he says. “If there is academic fraud, on any scale, we need to get to the bottom of this and we need to investigate it. I do not have that information and that data at this time.”
Buller says it’s troubling to him that unqualified students are graduating and that Chinese instructors are changing the grades of struggling students.
“Unfortunately it’s not one or two students… It’s when you see a whole row of questionable entries that you say, somehow students that are absolutely not qualified are being allowed to graduate, and it should be very, very worrisome.”
Two weeks after 16×9 interviewed McAlpine, Douglas College announced that it was ordering an independent review of its teaching program in China.
Watch 16×9 Saturday at 7pm for the full investigation into what some are calling dubious Canadian degrees handed out in China.