Indian Media Says Sri Lanka Sells PhD For Rs. 300 000

Indian media have dubbed Sri Lanka at a place where one can get a PhD for rs.300 000.

Vasudewa Sharma an Indian National had said he wasshocked when two men walked into his office with an offer last week. They placed on his desk an application that would fetch him an honorary doctorate from a Sri Lankan University. “They told me I had to pay $3,500 (Rs 2.14 lakh) to get an honorary doctorate for my social work,” said Sharma (48), executive director, Child Rights Trust.

The men identified themselves as Suresh and Ananth, and said they represented the Open International University of Complementary Medicines (OIUCM) in Colombo. As it turns out, scores of people have received not just honorary doctorates, but are also practicing as doctors with OIUCM degrees in homeopathy, acupuncture, ayurveda and naturopathy.

The university’s website, which contains many false claims, states its mandate, is to popularise alternative medicine. In India, the OIUCM offers courses through 11 dubious institutions, one of which is located in Bangalore and another in Mumbai, the rest being in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Its courses are offered in 12 other countries, including the United States, China, Australia and Pakistan.

“They said I had been referred for an honorary doctorate. They tried to lure me with the possibilities of having a ‘Dr’ prefix to my name,” Sharma said. He was not the only one they approached.

Mathews Philip, executive director of the South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring, was also “shortlisted” for a doctorate that would cost him Rs 3 lakh. “I refused outright and threw them out of my office. I knew it was a fraud,” he said.

Posing as a student looking for a PhD, an Indian Express reporter approached National Institute of Alternative Medicine Systems in Shivajinagar. The institute is affiliated to the OIUCM. “The fee is Rs 50,000 and it is negotiable. You can get a PhD certificate in one month. If you wish to go in depth, you’ll get a certificate in two months, with a seal from OIUCM,” said Dr A R Samiullah, the institute’s president. Interestingly, the institute offers courses from the Karnataka State Open University as well.

The Sri Lankan High Commission in Delhi has told Indian Express that OIUCM was not registered with the University Grants Commission of Sri Lanka. Even Dr N J Nonis, registrar of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, said OIUCM and its degrees were not recognised. Dr Prashanth Shetty, principal of SDM College of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences in Ujire, said he had heard about OIUCM and its activities in India. “It is a fake university. They provide MD degrees in naturopathy and acupuncture in three to six days,” he said. “I hope the law takes its course.”

Only 16 legitimate institutes in the country offer naturopathy and yoga courses. “Those affiliated to the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences are the only ones recognised in Karnataka,” he said. (with inputs from The New Indian Express)



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