Liverpool John Moores University says it was forced to pull out of a tie-up with a Malaysian college after learning that it was not officially accredited.
The university went into partnership with Kuala Lumpur-based Windfield International College in March 2006 to deliver a diploma in nursing. In a press release issued in May that year, LJMU said: "The new Diploma in Nursing (International) programme is professionally accredited by the Nursing Board of Malaysia ... Around 200 nursing students enrolled in the first cohort and this figure is set to rise to between 400 and 500 students per year." Godfrey Mazhindu, dean of the faculty of health and applied social sciences at LJMU, said: "This will be the largest course provision that the faculty has abroad in terms of student numbers."
But the university said it later learned that Windfield did not have formal approval from the Nursing Board of Malaysia. "Despite this, Windfield continued to recruit students to the programme," a LJMU spokeswoman said this week.
"After being informed that Windfield lacked the appropriate licences from the Malaysian authorities, LJMU formally severed ties with the college in December 2007." She said "only a small number" of students were enrolled on the course when the partnership was dissolved.
A spokesman for the Nirwana Academy Group of Colleges, which includes Windfield, said the disagreement was a result of a misunderstanding over LJMU's proposed role, which he blamed on LJMU's agent in Malaysia. He told Times Higher Education that Windfield wanted LMJU to moderate the college's existing diploma course and did not realise that LJMU wanted to offer an entirely new course, validated by LJMU.
He said that by the time the matter came to light, Windfield had paid the university RM400,000 (£62,000) for a programme validation it did not want. LJMU's agent has since resigned and left the university's employment.