Whistleblowers: Kicked out college turns up at Birkbeck

December 19, 2003

The private medical college forced out of business partnerships with Greenwich University and King's College London after The THES raised questions about its credentials has since been teaching on the campus of Birkbeck College, London.

Greenwich severed its ties with the Medical College of London (MCL) in October after The THES reported that the private business had been making incorrect claims to be "affiliated" with Greenwich. It had been using the university's Kent campus as its headquarters and its business address without permission.

Greenwich had been providing teaching services and classroom space but abandoned the deal after The THES 's investigation. King's had abandoned a similar arrangement with the college a month earlier, as soon as it was contacted by The THES about the MCL's claims of "affiliation".

Birkbeck this week confirmed that MCLclasses were taught on its premises from September until last Friday (December 12), but said the agreement was merely a standard classroom hire deal and had now expired.

The MCL claims it can provide qualifications that will "prepare students for both the UK and US medical systems". But the British General Medical Council does not recognise the college.

MCL director Orien Tulp, a businessman, previously said the college could provide legitimate medical qualifications through a partnership arrangement with the private College of Medicine and Health Science, based in St Lucia in the West Indies.

But The THES reported that the president of the St Lucia college, Daniel Harrington, had in 2000 agreed a payout to three students he had signed up in America for "worthless" medical degrees.

The MCL now says it has an affiliation with the University of Science, Arts and Technology in Montserrat, enabling it to provide recognised, legitimate degrees.

It emerged this week that Birkbeck has been providing teaching space for the college's international students. Although the college is not claiming any formal links with Birkbeck, the arrangement allowed it to advertise the fact it provides classes in "central London".

A spokesman for Birkbeck said: "The MCL entered into a standard room-hire agreement with Birkbeck for the first time in September 2003. That agreement has now expired. Birkbeck has received no further requests for bookings from them since.

"The fact that the MCL has hired rooms at Birkbeck in no way means Birkbeck endorses the MCL or its courses. No Birkbeck lecturers, or students, are involved in the MCL classes.

"The MCL has signed Birkbeck's terms and conditions for the hire of its rooms, which clearly state: 'Hire of rooms does not entitle the users to describe themselves as part of Birkbeck College; the name of the college may be used only for location purposes."

The MCL's Dr Tulp declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the Department for Education and Skills, which had initially called on the Trading Standards authorities to investigate the college, said: "The MCL has made clear that its degrees are from a 'university' in Montserrat, and potential students should not be misled into believing they are following UK degrees."

Want to blow the whistle?
Contact Phil Baty on 020 7782 3298
or email him at phil.baty@thes.co.uk

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