Monday, 3 April 2017

Be wary of this college

Students and Parents seeking quality British Education in Kenya had better do a due diligence on the colleges claiming to offer such “education at your door step.” One such college is Edulink International College based on Ngong road Nairobi.

The parent company of college, has a history of disappointing its students and parents elsewhere. Edulink Consultants, the parent company is based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.  
It entered Africa via Victoria University in Kampala Uganda in 2011. The university, though a  provisionally licensed institution, was affiliated to the privately owned University of Buckingham in the UK.

 It had admitted some 180 students by late 2012 but it closed its doors in January 2013, citing a disagreement on Gay rights with the Uganda government. Uganda has a hardline stance on gay rights and had by then proposed legislation outlawing Homosexual practices. 

The University of Buckingham withdrew its support to Victoria University citing restrictions to freedom of Speech.  It was not clear how teaching Accounts and other business related disciplines, that the University of Buckingham was to teach, and examine, were affected by any legislation on sexual orientation.

The withdrawal of BU caused the closure of Victoria University which was later sold to Ugandan tycoon, Sudhir Ruparelia. It now operates under the management of Ruparelia group of Companies.

The 180 students in the University’s register at that time were told they would be admitted at the University of Middlesex in Dubai. Few were taken and the rest abandoned. 

Some, it was said could not raise the air ticket to Dubai while others never got the Visa for Dubai.  For all these students, the dream of a cheap and high quality education evaporated. They never graduated. The numbers of the affected students are not clear.  

Even before the closure was announced, the then, Vice chancellor, Martin O'Hara had already stepped down as the head of Victoria University in Kampala in November 2011, just a few months after the University opened its doors. Other senior academicians left in a quick succession. Lesley Mearns, Victoria's dean of business, resigned in January, and the vice-chancellor's wife, Nora O'Hara, who led a foundation programme at the university, left in December.

Edulink CEO in Nairobi is Simo Dubajic, a Serbian who came to Uganda as an employee of Ultimate Security. He appears to be a man fond of controversies. He differed with his employer over unknown reason and soon was in Court suing the company over unclear differences.

 Then, he set up Victoria University with Edulink International whose CEO is Misho Ravic, also a Serbian based in Dubai.  It is worth noting that Edulink international has been sold to a Dubai based Capital fund. It is not clear what effect, if any, this would have on other edulink branches in Kenya, Sri Lanka and Seychelles.

Simo bought a foot ball club in Uganda in August 2011. The club was renamed Sports Club Victoria University, with Simo as the Chairman. It quickly rose to the Uganda Big League, winning the play-off final 4-0 against Aurum Roses to gain promotion to the Uganda Premier League. It was promoted to Uganda super league in 2012. SCVU  finished fifth in the 2012-13 season and won its first major trophy; the Uganda Cup in 2013.

 In 2014 another controversy erupted between Simo Dubajic the Chairman of SCUV club and the Football federation of Uganda over a uniforms contract. The club was knocked out of the 2014 season by KCC and was later sold to a Uganda MP[PN5] , Ibrahim Nsereko.

Simo then came  to Kenya to set up British Education College, the predecessor of Edulink International College Ltd. The college was licensed by the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TVETA) to offer technical course in Multimedia and IT. Insiders say the course were not popular and the college may not have admitted more than 40 students per year.

In fact, say knowledgeable sources, ghost students were offered qualifying certificates. Later it was approved as an affiliate of the University of Northampton to offer Degree in Business awarded by the British University.

This is where parents have to wary. Sources indicate that, apart from the College Director, Gitonga M’bijjiwe, there are no qualified faculty members. ”The faculty comprises visiting lecturers who have got international exposure, industry professionals and accomplished academics from Kenya. This cosmopolitan mix and knowledge sharing gives students a feel of international learning,” said a self- advertising release recently.

The head of Business Studies and Foundation course, Rachel Butterfield boasts only of a Bachelor’s degree and although she claims to have a Master’s degree in her CV, No such certificate was seen in her file when this writer visited the college.

 Insiders say that the college is quite adept and employing and dismissing qualified personnel.  In the past year, the college has dismissed 18 staff including the former Campus Director and Academic Registra  without regard to employment contracts.  

Mr Dubajic admitted he fired the employees citing various reasons including incompetence and theft of University funds.

The sources say that three top academicians in Victoria were similarly humiliated and dismissed. Professor Martin O’Hara, the VC at Victoria University is said to have been dismissed without warning. He was simply dismissed and handed a return ticket to Britain, say sources. Staff have been fired in a similar fashion in Kenya.

 Documents seen by this writer show that senior staff at the college were dismissed without reasonable cause. Some were accused of stealing money from the college and forced to sign resignation or were dismissed. 

It is interesting to note that the college, despite the alleged confession by staff did not take legal action. Many of the dismissed staff accuse the CEO of being insolent and racist. A claim the CEO vehemently denies.

The documents show that the dismissed staff were paid one month in Lieu of Notice and their accumulated leave days regardless of whether the employees were on a fixed term contract. Foreigners were offered the equivalent of their return air fare home.







4 comments:

  1. And the college still operational,with all this fisco.Has the ministry inspected this college for compliance or somebody trying to cover up this mess!Time will tell.

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  2. Errand colleges such as this needs to be Tamed and Blacklisted.You can't purport to be offering training only to con poor parents of their hard earn money for their children's future.Can the CS/Ministry investigate this claim?

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  3. This is one way of alerting the authorities. At inception it had employed qualified staff poached from other universities. Many were sacked soon after reqistration

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