Kerala

Fake online varsities back in business of granting ‘D. Litt’

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Fake online universities granting honorary doctorates (Doctor of Letters or D. Litt) seem to be back in the limelight in Kerala. The latest victim is a prominent actor, who held a press meet a couple of days ago to announce that he had been chosen for the “honour”.

Ajmal Mueen, Assistant Professor, Department of History, M.A.M.O. College, Mukkom, Kozhikode, who is part of a group of academics tracking the activities of these universities, said on Wednesday that the actor had claimed to have received a D. Litt from the ‘Royal American University’.

According to its website the university is located in Delaware State of the United States. Inquiries with the State Library authorities there, however, revealed that accredited universities and colleges in the U.S. have a web address with “.edu” at the end. For example, the web address of the University of Delaware is https://www.udel.edu/.

“… So this appears to be a fabricated university to our knowledge. In addition, there is not a college of this name physically located in Delaware that we are aware of. After searching extensively, I am not finding any mention of Royal American University listed in any compilation of accredited online degree programmes,” the authorities replied to a message sent by Mr. Mueen. The location given on the website was that of a car repair unit.

The actor had said the D. Litt would be awarded at an event in India “because of COVID-19 restrictions”.

It had been reported earlier that around half a dozen “universities”, which claim to be located in other States and abroad, are found to be selling fake D.Litt certificates in Kerala. The certificates could be delivered home on payment between ₹25,000 and ₹3 lakh.

Those who fancy prefixing a ‘Dr’ title to their name and don’t mind spending a few bucks for the purpose included senior officials in the Education Department and school teachers. One such official on deputation was removed from his post in Kozhikode around two years ago.

Indian Virtual University; Universal Tamil University, Chennai; Kings University, U.S.A.; International Peace University, Germany; International Tamil University; and University Asia, Kathmandu, Nepal, had been cited as examples of such universities.

Other members of the academics’ group said those who paid the money would be asked to show up for a convocation ceremony to be held at star hotels in Chennai, Bengaluru, or Kathmandu. The event would be attended by well-known personalities and the details would appear in newspapers the next day.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 10:00:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/fake-online-varsities-back-in-business-of-granting-d-litt/article33620590.ece

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