25 mai 2007

Vrai député et faux diplomes

Quoi, des hommes politiques thailandais utiliseraient des faux diplomes! Mais c'est une grosse surprise (hahaha...) En France certains anciens ministres (qui ont mal fini) se targuaient de n'avoir pas de diplomes.

Yaowaret Shinawatra, younger sister of the deposed prime minister, is holding on to her post as chairman of Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University Council, even though her bachelor’s degree from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University has been revoked because of an allegedly forged vocational certificate.

The STOU probably is top in Mr Thaksin’s mind as the least favourite university for depriving his cronies of their chances of entering the political arena. Since the previous constitution stipulated (as will the new one) that only degree-holders may contest elections, all MP candidates flocked to the open university armed with vocational certificates in the hopes of earning university degrees.

The certificate also meant a short cut because some vocational courses could be used as a waiver for degree coursework. It would thus take only two years to earn a degree.

But just before the 2005 elections, the STOU revealed the results of an investigation that put an end to the political careers of many.

The STOU found that Ms Yaowaret and many Thai Rak Thai politicians did not graduate from Thurakij Bundit Technical School in Nakhon Si Thammarat, as cited in their university applications.

The university became suspicious after almost a thousand politicians presented certificates from this vocational school to enrol in its undergraduate programmes. Most of them were not Nakhon Si Thammarat natives.

The STOU unveiled the foul play — the vocational school had been making good money issuing educational certificates to MP hopefuls.

The school produced 80 vocational students each year but it issued 3,000 vocational certificates.

The degree fiasco forced many candidates from Thai Rak Thai and other parties to disgracefully drop out of the race.

The most remembered case is that of TRT candidate Karun Hosakul, who was shown on TV with tears streaming down his face on the evening of Jan 31, after news broke that he might have faked his education document.

Before the election, the Supreme Court found him guilty of forgery and disqualified him from contesting. Police are investigating whether to forward to the prosecution his case against the STOU regarding malfeasance.

To date, the STOU has cancelled degrees it awarded to 1,400 people and sued 800, one of whom is Ms Yaowaret.

Despite the revelation, Ubon Ratchathani Rajabhat University has stuck by Ms Yaowaret. It is a bitter truth for the Rajabhat community. Ms Yaowaret shows no sign of stepping down from the position which, ironically, authorises the holder to endorse university graduates.

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