Raffles Responds To The Sunday Leader Article

The Raffles Education Corporation has responded to The Sunday Leader article on June 16, 2013 titled, ‘Raffles Colombo Misleading Students, claiming that contents of the article are absolutely false and are made maliciously.

Following is the full text of the response:

We, Raffles Education Corporation Limited, are a reputable education provider listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Singapore. The article comprises allegations that are absolutely false and misleading. It is written with a malicious intent and is, without question, calculated to ridicule and injure the reputation of Raffles Education Corporation Ltd. and its college in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Raffles Design Institute in Colombo has been offering Advanced Diploma courses that have been approved by the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) of Sri Lanka – a statutory body established under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skill Development since 16 March 2011.

In furtherance of our commitment to provide quality education services in Sri Lanka, we have entered into an agreement with the BOI to establish and build a higher education institute in Sri Lanka. In this connection, we have committed to invest a sum of US $70 million in the project. In the meantime, an application has been made to the Ministry of Higher Education of Sri Lanka (‘MOHE’) for degree awarding status to be granted to Raffles and we have thus far been granted in-principle approval in respect thereof.

As such, it is clear the allegation that we have claimed recognition of the MOHE in respect of our diploma courses “only to attract more students to follow their courses” is a distortion of facts and is obviously intended to harm the reputation of our college in Colombo.

The allegations that “… (Raffles) have not been conferred university status by any country in the world”, that “on offer are basic vocational skills development short courses as they have not been conferred university status by any country in the world” and that “the Raffles degree is not listed nor recognized by any reputed university” are absolutely false and are made maliciously. The following facts will speak for themselves. Raffles Education Corp operates 33 colleges in 30 cities across 11 countries.  With a heritage of close to 30 years, the Group has today three university-level institutions that are in Australia, China and Malaysia.

These establishments are fully recognised as degree-awarding establishments in their respective countries having obtained the necessary approvals from their host countries and having complied with the quality assurance agencies in their respective countries. In Malaysia, Raffles University Iskandar is a fully-fledged University, approved by the relevant government authority of Malaysia. These institutions validate the distinctive academic development and pedagogical standards of the Group.

It should also be noted that Raffles College of Design and Commerce (RCDC) is a university-level institution listed on the register of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) of Australia http://www.teqsa.gov.au/national-register. The degrees awarded by RCDC are accredited by the Australian Government through TEQSA and are recognised by all Australian universities. RCDC degrees also comply with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

RCDC is also listed through the Australian Government’s Department of Education with CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students). The link to this government website may be found at http://cricos.deewr.gov.au/Institution/InstitutionDetails.aspx?ProviderID=2761  under its CRICOS Provider Code 02761J.

Finally, RCDC is an approved FEE-HELP provider. FEE-HELP is a student loan scheme administered by the Australian government to assist Australian students with their tuition fees at approved institutions. The list of approved providers may be found at the DIISRTE website at www.studyassist.gov.au. The degrees awarded by RCDC are recognised internationally through articulation agreements and in fact many of our graduate students have been enrolled in universities in the United Kingdom and the USA for higher and further studies.

The allegation that “to bring credibility to what Raffles does, the Raffles Education Corporation has created the so-called Raffles University System” followed by the statement that “this is a highly dubious position, where the international norms are that the moderator is an independent body to the university or institute that offer a degree…..” is mischievous and is a classic case of irresponsible reporting without regard to truth.

The Raffles University System is established to oversee curriculum, pedagogy, quality assurance and academic human resource development of the Group. External oversight of quality assurance is carried out through the engagement of external examiners of international repute who will, inter alia, provide independent benchmarking of our academic quality.

This is over and above the mandatory quality and compliance audits imposed by the respective education ministries in various countries.
The statement that “although from outside Raffles qualifications look nice and shiny, there is a question about its certificate’s recognition” followed by allegations that Raffles was “banned” in Vietnam and Thailand are expressed with the intent to tarnish our reputation.

The truth is Raffles is not banned in Thailand and in fact we are in the process of being upgraded to university college status by the Thai authorities. As for Vietnam, there was a sudden change in government policy at the time that affected more than 27 foreign and local colleges which were all previously approved by the government under the old regulatory regime. The changes implemented were not only sudden but also onerous which left most of the education providers with no choice but to exit the country.

In respect of our college in Colombo, Sri Lanka,Raffles has continued its dedication to provide quality education with strict selection of academia on site. Ms Julie Ross, with over 10 years of teaching experience and educational stints in England and Kenya and Mr. Dinesh Chandrasena – a famous international fashion designer who has worked with film stars in the USA and the catwalks of Milan are two of them. Raffles Colombo has also recently engaged the services of Dr Krzysztof Gluc, a higher education administrator with 22 years of experience either teaching or managing higher education institutions in Poland and the USA.

Reporter’s Note:

Before writing the story the reporter called the institution as a parent seeking to enroll her child for a ‘degree’ and was informed about the various ‘degree courses’ on offer. When asked whether the institution has the Higher Education Ministry approval, the Sales and Marketing Executive Raffles Colombo who answered the call said that the institution has the Higher Education Ministry approval.

When the reporter cross-checked with the relevant institution – the Higher Education Ministry whether Raffles had degree awarding status in Sri Lanka, the ministry responded in the negative and said that an application for same was being studied, which facts have been duly recorded in the article. This was the basis of the article and also reflected in the headline.

The reporter also researched on the web about the institution and some of the facts mentioned in the article were gleaned from news material published online. The Head of the Raffles Institute in Colombo Prof. Krzysztof Gluc was spoken to and his response is also recorded in the article.

As all relevant persons and institutions have been spoken to and their responses published in the article in question, we leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions.

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