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Alternative education

This is the ninth of a series of articles by Lyndon Jones, Chairman of the Association of Business Exectives (ABE), based on a dossier of evidence which he has meticulously built up over the years.

In the post-industrial society traditional universities will not be insulated against change. No longer can they serve exclusively as degree-granting bodies sheltering 18-22 year olds between allowances and salaries. They have to meet the needs of the Information Age or go the way of the dinosaur. Resulting from pressure for change during the 1960s, some notable and worthwhile developments occurred in higher education. In part, these were triggered by the development of Britain's Open University. Until then with the notable exception of, first, London University which for over a hundred years had provided facilities for people to take a degree externally and, later, the University of South Africa - obtaining a degree required extended periods of study at a university or college. Suddenly, however, this changed. The external degree movement exploded, and many who had hitherto been denied the opportunity of taking higher degree programmes could study for a degree of their choice. Simultaneously, it became possible to gain credits towards a degree on the basis of life experience. The thinking behind this new approach can be summed-up as follows. Many persons who never went to a university have a vast amount of experience, whether it be managing a business, running a library, editing a newspaper, or whatever. This life experience will translate into college credits and enable a person to qualify for a degree. For example, apply the concept to the field of industrial relations. One person can study at university and may emerge at the age of 25 with a doctorate from the London School of Economics, yet he has never worked in, or smelt the dust of, the arena. A second person may have left school at 16 and possibly joined Ford Motor Company where, after one or two years in the foundry or on the assembly line, he has been elected a shop steward. In his nine years in the industry, but without any formal training, that person may have acquired a wealth of knowledge about industrial relations. Hence there should be recognition of the knowledge acquired, by whatever means. Although to labour the obvious, theory and practice should not be seen as alternatives. As far as the writer is concerned, the thesis of alternative education is an attractive one and developments are to be welcomed. Further it can be argued that the whole concept of what merits a degree should be reviewed. The nature of a degree for a mature adult should be something entirely different from the award to persons in their early twenties lacking industrial experience, and assessed on the basis of a number of three-hour papers. Such examining may be appropriate to test knowledge, but it affords no guide to skills in application. Some would argue that these views are not original. Witness the award of doctorates - these are awarded on the basis of unpublished work judged by academics. During the past 15 years, notably but not exclusively in America, there has been a rash of new colleges and universities founded specifically to offer non-traditional degrees. Many of these are bona fide, and some valuable pioneering work has resulted. Geographically, the area of most rapid growth in alternative education has been California. In that State any private person or private
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entity issuing or granting academic or honorary degrees, or offering education credible towards a degree objective, must comply with at least one of the following statutes of the California Education Code: The Exempted Degree. Education Code Section 94303(b) exempts:
A nonprofit institution owned, controlled, and operated and maintained by a bonafidechurch or religious denomination if such education is limited to instruction in the principles of that church ordenomination, or to courses offered pursuant to Section 2789 of the Business and Professions Code, and the diploma is limited to evidence of completion of that education, and the meritorious recognition upon which any honorary degree is conferred is limited to the principles of that church or denomination.

The intent of this law is obviously the separation of church and state. A bona fide church or religious denomination may provide religious instruction without standards and regulations being imposed by the state. The degrees issued must strictly and exclusively relate to the principles of the church. An entity may not imply or claim that there is any approval or recognition of the education or degree in any manner whatever by the state, or any agency or agent thereof. Being exempt, the degree has no state approval or authorisation status whatever. The Accredited Degree. Education Code Section 94310(a) allows:
The institution, which at the time of the issuance of a degree has accreditation of the institution, program, or specific course of study upon which the degree is based by a national or applicable regional accrediting agency recognised by the United States Department of Health Education & Welfare, Office of Education, or the Committee of Bar Examiners for the State of California. The institution must file with the superintendent an annual affidavit by the administrative head of the institution stating that the institution is so accredited. Institutions authorised to operate under this subdivision may issue diplomas and certificates as well as degrees.

Accreditation is usually institutional; that is, it provides an umbrella approval of the total institution and its programs by the accrediting agency. The Approved Degree. Education Code Section 94310(b) is cited in part:
The institution has been approved by the superintendent to award or issue specific degrees. The superintendent shall not approve an institution to issue degrees until it is determined, based upon information submitted to him or her, that the institution has the facilities, financial resources, administrative capabilities, faculty, and other necessary educational expertise and resources to afford students and require of students the completion of a program of education which will prepare them for the attainment of a professional, technological, or educational objective, including, but not limited to, a degree; and the curriculum is consistent in quality with curricula offered by established institutions that issue the appropriate degree upon the satisfactory completion thereof. This shall include the determination that the course for which the degree is granted achieves its professed or claimed objective for higher education. The criteria developed hereunder shall be such as will effectuate the purposes of this chapter, but will not unreasonably hinder legitimate educational innovation. Those institutions approved to issue degrees pursuant to this subdivision may also be authorised by the superintendent to issue diplomas for the completion of courses of study, within their approved degree program, but which do not fully meet the degree requirements. The superintendent may approve an application to issue honorary degrees, provided the applicant institution has full approval to issue academic degrees. Education & Training, Nov.-Dec, 1985

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The Authorised Degree. Education Code Section 94310(c) is paraphrased:


An ownership shall file an annual affidavit offull disclosure describing the institutional objectives and proposed methods of achieving them, the curriculum, instruction, faculty with qualifications, physical facilities, administrative personnel, educational record-keeping procedures, tuition and fee schedule, tuition refund schedule, scholastic regulations, degrees to be conferred, graduation requirements, and financial stability as evidenced by a certified financial statement for the preceding year. An annual affidavit by the president or other head shall be filed stating that the institution owns and shall continue to own net assets, in cash and/or tangible assets, in the amount of $50,000 solely for the purpose of education. Those assets must be in California and must produce sufficient resources to achieve the educational objectives of the institution. A public accountant must provide a statement of net asset value. Additional annual affidavits are required to set forth minimum information cited under the statute. Upon receipt of the affidavits, the Superintendent shall verify the truthfulness and accuracy of the content by empanelling a threemember team comprising one representative of the Superintendent, one representative of the California Post/Secondary Education Commission, and one representative of the school but who is not affiliated with the institution to be inspected. Authorisation to operate may be denied if the affidavits are inaccurate. Filing pursuant to this subdivision shall not be interpreted to mean, and it shall be unlawful for, any institution to expressly or impliedly represent by any means whatsoever that the State of California, Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education, or the Department of Education has made any evaluation, recognition, accreditation, approval, or endorsement of the course of study or degree.

It is also intriguing to note that the Chairman of the Board of Regents is an Englishman, Dr. Ernest Kay, Director General International Biographical Centre (England). Some of the universities offering alternative education advertise in the UK press: eg, Columbia Pacific and Kensington. Complaint has been made to the UK Advertising Standards Authority regarding the former.
Columbia Pacific University, (UK office), 19 Temple Street, Birmingham B2 5BH. Complaint from: Retford, Notts, CR79. Basis of complaint: A member of the public objected to a press advertisement offering external degree courses from Columbia Pacific University. He thought the advertisement misleading, as he had obtained information from the United States United Kingdom Educational Commission that Columbia Pacific was not regionally accredited on the American system and any degree, or other qualification, received from this institution was unlikely to be recognised by American or British educational institutions, government certifying agencies, etc. Conclusion: Complaint upheld. Although the advertisement stated 'CPU degrees are granted to successful graduates under the authority given to the University by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (USA)', the Authority was informed that degrees granted by institutions without regional accreditation (USA) or a Royal Charter (UK) were unlikely to be recognised. The advertisers agreed to remove from future advertisements all reference to CPU's authorisation.

Authorisation was intended as the first stage in the establishment of a degree-granting institution. Thereafter the institution would seek approval of specified degrees or national accreditation. But many, as there is nothing to compel institutions to develop beyond it, remain in the authorised status class. In turn, they can operate relatively free of regulation. A list of authorised institutions appears in Appendix A. Very few persons, particularly outside the USA, understand the difference between authorisation, approval and accreditation. Hence when the following advertisement appears in publications such as The Economist or International Herald Tribune it would be understandable if readers believed that the University was accredited:
EXPERIENCE COUNTS! NON-RESIDENTIAL DEGREE PROGRAMS Professionals in any field may apply for at-a-distance Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree programs in Management, documenting work experience instead of further classwork, and presenting a career accomplishment project instead of a standard thesis. The cost is moderate; the time for completion is shortened. Designed for working professionals. Program authorized by the California Department of Education. Students worldwide. CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY for ADVANCED STUDIES School of Professional Management Office of the Dean, Room HT-1, 100 Galli Drive, Novato, CA94947 (415) 382-1600

Caveat emptor The new wave universities comprise three groupings:


Bona fide - The Empire State College is an example of a nontraditional university pioneering interesting work. Low Calibre - Many are content with low calibre work honestly done but not meriting recognition. Distinguishing between colleges in these two groups may not be easy. For example, on the basis of the graduation requirements of Kennedy-Western University (see Appendix 'B') how does one assess its standing? Diploma mills - These claim to be authentic; they claim to set work; they often seek to induce people to register for higher degrees. For example, after some work has been submitted for a bachelor degree the student is informed that his/her standard is already above the level of qualification for which he or she is registered. Here again, it may be difficult to distinguish between categories. Where does one draw the line between an absolute sale of a degree, and the awarding of a degree as a result of the completion of a ridiculously inadequate course of study?

However in the prospectus it states:


Degree Granting Authority California University for Advanced Studies is authorised and empowered by the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of California to confer Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral degrees to students who have met the graduation requirements of the University. Such authorisation is granted under the provisions of Section 94310(c) of the Education Code of the State of California. Satisfactory affidavits have been filed with the State Department of Education covering thirteen areas of operation, including faculty qualifications, financial stability, methods of instruction, and graduation requirements. Education & Training, Nov.-Dec. 1985 Emerald Backfiles 2007

On occasion US authorities take some action. For example in 1979 Lawrence University, set up by Charles Lawrence Palermo, came under the scrutiny of postal authorities and state educational officials. The following year, the Financial Frauds Division of the Arizona Attorney General's office closed down a similar Charles Lawrence Palermo operation, the University of Central Arizona, and fined Palermo and a co-defendant Chester Wright $10,000. The decree against Palermo and Wright charged them, in part, with: Conferring various doctorate degrees when, in fact, the degrees do not signify the completion of a doctoral programme under any recognised standards for doctoral programmes. Just how many of the alternative universities are run by diploma mill operators, and the size of the operation, is not easy to assess. But the evidence suggests it is large and lucrative. According to Lyn Gubser, Director of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE): Degree mills are polluting the value of American graduate degrees. In 1980 all the regionallyaccredited institutions in the US graduated 6,000 doctorates in education, whilst according to Gubser: Just 50 of the diploma mills we reviewed granted in excess of 1,500 degrees; in the Chicago Public School System 52 per cent of the people in education administration have PhDs from diploma mills.
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In short it can be very difficult to distinguish between the worthwhile universities offering alternative education, where some commendable developments have been pioneered, and the bogus. More's the pity that the nontraditional have used traditional labels like university and titles like PhD.

Appendix 'A' ABC Colleges Academic Credit University Academy International Agape Bible College Ali Akbar College of Music Ambassador College American Academy of Family Studies American Christian Theological Seminary American College for the Applied Arts - Los Angeles American College of Finance American College of Law American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine American Graduate University American Institute of Hypnotherapy American National Institute for Psysical Research and Development American Pacific University American University of Chinese Health Sciences Anaheim Christian College Antioch University West Arabic and Islamic University Asian American University Bates University Bay Cities Bible Institute Bay City College of Dental Medical Assistants Berean Bible College Bethesda School of Theology Business College CAL Northern School of Law California Acupuncture College California College for Respiratory Therapy California College of Commerce California Graduate Institute California Graduate School of Marital and Family Therapy California Graduate School of Theology California International University California Pacific University California Theological Seminary California University for Advanced Studies Calwest University Cambridge Graduate School of Psychology Capital Bible Institute Casa Loma College Century University Charles E. Dederich School of Law Christian Life College Christian Witness Institute and Seminary Citadel Baptist College and Seminary Citrus Belt Law School City University City University Los Angeles Clinical Psychotherapy Institute Coleman College 318
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College and Seminary of Southern California College of St. Francis, Illinois Columbia College, Missouri Columbia Pacific University Common College Condie Junior College of Business and Technology Control Data Institute Design Institute of San Diego De Vry Institute of Technology, Los Angeles Dharma Realm Buddist University Donsbach University Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Ernest Holmes College/School of Ministries Eubanks Conservation of Music and Arts European University of America Eurotechnical Research University Evangel Christian Fellowship Evangelical Christian College Fellowship Bible Institute Glad Tidings Bible Training College Golden State University Grace Schools Graduate Center for Child Development and Psychotherapy Graduate School for Community Development Great Western University GYE University Heald College Heartwood: California College of the Natural Healing Arts Heed University Human Relations Center Inc. Humphreys College Immaculate Heart College Center Institute for Creation Research Institute for Information Management Institute of Buddhist Studies Institute for Management Competency Interior Designers Institute International Bible College International College John Rennie University Julie Nation College Kennedy-Western University Kensington University Koh-E-Nor University La Jolla University Latin American Bible Institute Life Chiropractic College - West Lincoln University Linda Vista Baptist Bible College and Seminary Living Word Bible College Loma Linda College of Law Los Angeles Bible College and Seminary Los Angeles Business College Los Angeles Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies

Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Society and Institute Los Angeles Psychosocial Center Los Angeles University Louise Salinger Academy of Fashion and School of Dress Design Magna Carta University School of Law Manor Fashion Institute Marie College of Medical Careers Marin Bible College Midway Baptist College More University Music and Arts Institute National Education Center Shadron College of Business Center National Hispanic University National Schools New York Institute of Technology Newport University North American College of Law North American University Northern California Bible College Northwestern California University Northwestern Polytechnic University Nova University Nyingma Institute One Institute Gr?duate School Ottawa University Pacific Coast University Pacific Institute for Advanced Studies Pacific International College Pacific International University Pacific Southern University Pacific States University Pacific Western University Palmer College of Chiropractic - West Peninsula University College of Law Peoples College of Law Piatt College Rosebridge Institute Rudolf Steiner College Samra University of Health Sciences San Bernardino Bible College San Diego Bible College

San Francisco College of Acupuncture San Joaquin College of Law Santa Barbara University School for Deacons Shasta Bible College Shiloh Bible College Smith Baptist University Graduate School of Theology Soma University South Baylor University Southern California Bible College Southern California Community Bible College Southern California Conservatory of Music Southern California University for Professional Studies Southern States University Southland University, Inc. Spring Valley Bible College and Seminary St. George Center for Training Trinity School of the Bible Union University United College of Business University for Humanistic Studies University of Beverly Hills Univeristy of Bridgeport University of Budo Science University of Northern California Inc. University of Northern California School of Law University of Oriental Studies University of Phoenix, Arizona University of Systems Development and Programming University of the Trees Valley Christian University Weimar College Western Design Institute Western Sierra Law School Western University Westland College Westminster Theological Seminary in California Westminster University William Carey International University William Howard Taft University World Open University World University of America (Qjai) Yuin University

Appendix 'B' Kennedy-Western University Graduation Requirements To graduate from the International External Degree Program, you must complete only the following three requirements: (A) Program Evaluation: Thefirsteducational project that a student is asked to complete after enrolment at the University is a Program Evaluation. You will be forwarded a detailed Program Evaluation Form to document the totality of your previous life work/career/ college experiences which lend themselves to the awarding of academic credit. The purpose of this evaluation is to assure that the international student is given maximum academic credit towards his or her degree accomplishments. The University will provide and mail to all students detailed guidelines on the preparation of the Program Evaluation, as well as providing full faculty assistance. (B) A Proposal for Final Project/Thesis/Dissertation: Bachelor's Degree candidates are required to write a Final Project, Master's Degree candidates are required to write a Master's Project, and Doctoral candidates are required to write a Doctoral Project. 1. The problem or question you wish to study, investigate, prove, or disprove. Examples would be (a) A study of the Canadian American Trade Relationship; (b) The use of electronic circuits in micro-computers; (c) The effect of trade barriers on your country's economy; (d) etc., etc. to page 320 Education & Training, Nov.-Dec, 1985

from page 318 2. The significance of the problem and how it will be helpful to thefieldin general, or to a specific enterprise. 3. A bibliography of books or other source material that you intend to read or have read which relate to your proposed project topic. Subject to University approval, you may select your books yourself or, if you wish, you may obtain general reference materials through the University. If you are accepted to the University, we will provide you with detailed guidelines on how to prepare your Proposal, as well as full faculty assistance. Refer to Catalogue. (C) A Final Project: Once your Proposal has been approved, you will begin working on the Final, Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral Project. 1. A Bachelor's Final Project is usually about 20 to 30 pages in length, a Master's Project is normally about 30 to 50 pages in length, and a Doctoral Project is approximately 35 to 75 pages in length. 2. Final Projects have an introduction, the body of the project and a conclusion that summarises the results, ideas or theories. 3. All Final Projects should be properly footnoted and contain a proper bibliography of the source materials used. The University will provide detailed samples to help you on these requirements. 320
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Education & Training, Nov.-Dec I9S5