President’s Office Requested to Investigate Civil Service Board’s Connection with Bogus Universities

By San Yamin Aung 19 February 2019

YANGON—A complaint was submitted to the President’s Office on Tuesday, calling for an investigation into the Union Civil Service Board (UCSB) over its ties with two unaccredited foreign universities.

The UCSB, a government agency responsible for recruiting and training civil servants, worked with Hawaii-based Akamai University and an affiliate institution in Malaysia, EDS Business School, in providing several courses since 2017 and a master’s degree in 2018 for high-ranking government officials. Neither university is recognized by the government of its home country.

The scandal broke in December last year after a Myanmar scholar studying at Oxford University in the UK pointed out the flaws of two bogus universities on social media. Accreditation aside, scholar Ko Nay Yan Oo also raised questions about a possible conflict of interest in the UCSB’s partnerships with the Akamai University and EDS Business School.

Amid public criticism surrounding its connections with the bogus universities, the board ended its partnerships with the two institutions on Jan. 4, and vowed to collaborate only with legitimate universities in the future. However, no further details, nor explanation of how the connections were formed, have yet emerged.

Ko Nay Yan Oo said on Tuesday that he has waited for two months but as no explanation has yet made to the public so far, he is submitting the complaint to the President’s Office.

“The President’s Office is responsible for looking into the complaint,” he said.

In the complaint, he called for an investigation into why the board chose to work with the institutions, whether background checks had been carried out into the institutions, if public money had been spent on them and whether there is a conflict of interest.

He said the public funds spent on those universities are wasteful and the collaborations with such unaccredited universities harm the nation’s and government’s dignity.

Former information minister U Ye Htut is also a signatory of the complaint. Posting on his personal Facebook account, he said his reason for signing the petition calling for an investigation is that the UCSB’s partnerships with the bogus universities will harm the government’s civil service reform action plan launched by State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi if the complaint is not handled effectively.