Wednesday, August 24, 2005

August 24, 2005: Jakarta Post: Police target illegal institutes

The Jakarta Post
August 24, 2005


After sealing off the Institut Manajemen Global Indonesia (IMGI) for allegedly selling fake academic titles, the National Police said on Tuesday they were investigating 19 additional educational institutions. National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Saud Usman Nasution said the 19 institutions were reportedly operating in Jakarta without licenses from the Directorate General of Higher Education at the Ministry of National Education.

The institutes include the International University Transfer Program, the International Agyata Foundation, the American Management University, the American International Institute of Management and Technology, the Washington International University, San Pedro College of Business Administration and Kennedy Western University.

"Their operations are similar to that of IMGI, which offered fake diplomas to the public for small amounts of money," Saud said.

He said the names of the 19 institutions had been obtained from the Ministry of Education.

The police have yet to make any arrests and are still gathering evidence against the institutes.

IMGI was reportedly working with American World University, Northern California Global University, Jakarta International Management Studies and Senior University to issue allegedly unauthorized diplomas, ranging from bachelor's degrees to doctorates.

As the investigation proceeded into IMGI, its graduates began to return their fictitious diplomas to the police.

Another National Police spokesman, Brig. Gen. Soenarko, said his office received a master's and a PhD issued by IMGI in May 2001.

The academic certificates were turned in by a graduate identified only by the initials SW.

"We promise that graduates who willingly return their certificates will face a less harsh punishment," Soenarko said.

He said the IMGI database showed that more than 100 PhDs and approximately 400 masters of science were issued by the institute.

To receive the degrees, it is alleged people simply had to pay between Rp 1.5 million (US$ 150) and Rp 5 million.

Several top government officials, including a former vice president and former Cabinet ministers, along with Muslim clerics and a number of retired senior police officers, are among the some 5,000 graduates of IMGI.

If these graduates are found to have used their academic titles from the unregistered educational institute, they could face up to five years in jail or a maximum fine of Rp 500 million (US$ 50,500), according to the National Education Law.

Eva C. Komandjaja, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Faron Ellis' earlier 'research' on Western independence

There's been some interesting reactions to the recent story in the Western Standard that claims that separatist sentiments in the west are soaring. Over at the Grandite, it's been pointed out (here and here) that JMCK and Faron Ellis, who did this poll, is not really at an arms length from the Western Standard.

Faron Ellis is described thus in the Western Standard story:
The research, which was conducted by pollster Faron Ellis, a political science professor at the Lethbridge Community College, was commissioned by the Western Standard to determine how well the federal government under Prime Minister Paul Martin has been managing the issue of western alienation–something that Martin promised to reduce as part of his 2004 election campaign.
The description is probably misleading. Lethbridge Community College has no Political Science Department, so Ellis is hardly a 'political science professor', all the more since being a community college, the LCC will not have 'professors', but 'instructors'. As far as I can tell he is an instructor in 'Applied Social Sciences' and in charge of Citizen Society Research Lab, which describes itself as
"an applied research and teaching initiative specializing in quantitative public opinion studies. Each semester, Lethbridge Community College and Athabasca University students conduct one omnibus public opinion survey within the city of Lethbridge."
At the site, you can find earlier student surveys, including one on one of Dr. Ellis' favorite themes, Western Independence, 'published' in March 2003, which tracked support in Lethbridge for the statement "Western Canadians should begin to explore the idea of creating their own country" and got these results:
Feb. '01 Oct. '01 Oct. '02
Strongly Support 4.7 4.6 4.6
Support 14.2 17.4 18.0
Oppose 42.7 42.0 43.4
Strongly Oppose 38.4 35.3 31.8
The question is reminicent of the one in his famous 'Kyoto poll' that was released in Nov./Dec. 2002 that I mentioned here, quoting a Calgary Sun report on it.

The odd thing is that Ellis' separatism-rising-because-of-Kyoto poll (also done for JMCK) gathered its data at about the same time as Dr. Ellis had his students polling citizens of Lethbridge on their attitudes. But compare the numbers. When asked how the government should respond to the ratification of Kyoto, the JMCK poll (run by Ellis at almost exactly the same time) got these results:
Nothing can be done 43.8
Explore Independence 46.8
Seek to join U.S. 9.4
The question is, why did nearly identical questions asked at nearly identical moments get such different results?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Fun with figures: Western separatism is declining

The recent story in the Western Standard claims that separatist sentiments in the west are soaring. 43% of Albertans agreed with the statement “Western Canadians should begin to explore the idea of forming their own country”.

This struck me as rather remiscent of a poll conducted by the same pollster and same firm three years ago. (On the methodology of that poll see here.) It asked what Albertans should do if Kyoto was confirmed: 55% said they would be open to considering separation if Kyoto were ratified.
Calgary Sun
November 18, 2002 Monday, Final Edition
SECTION: News; Pg. 3

by Michelle Mark, Calgary Sun

Most Albertans would rather talk separation than take the Kyoto Protocol lying down, results of a new poll show. In fact, more than 55% of the 1,204 Albertans approached by JMCK Polling said they would be open to those possibilities if Kyoto is ratified against Albertans' wishes.

"Support (for Kyoto) is continuing to drop in Alberta," said pollster Faron Ellis, who conducted the research. "In a hypothetical situation, if it comes down to the two options of capitulate or fight, it looks like more Albertans are willing to fight at this stage."

The poll, conducted by phone between Oct. 30 and Nov. 9 of this year, targeted a random sample of Albertans from across the province, Ellis said, adding that while JMCK Polling normally conducts the surveys on behalf of paying clients, this one was sparked primarily by his and his partners' curiosity.

The first two questions asked Albertans if they'd heard of the Kyoto Protocol and, if so, did they think the federal government should ratify it? Slightly more than 94% of respondents confirmed they had heard of Kyoto and 57% of them opposed its ratification.

The third and final question asked Albertans if the federal government ratified Kyoto against the wishes of the Alberta Government, what should Alberta do? Respondents were given the following answers to choose from:
  1. There's nothing we can do.
  2. Albertans should begin to explore other options such as independence from Canada.
  3. Alberta should seek to join the U.S.
In general, Calgarians were found to have stronger opposition to ratifying Kyoto than Edmontonians, and more of a willingness to go to extremes in defiance of it.

Ellis, a seasoned political scientist, said he was surprised to find more than 9% of Albertans hypothetically supported the drastic measure of bypassing separation and hooking up with the U.S. "Clearly people are willing to choose the radical political approaches than sit by and do nothing," he said.

However, Ellis conceded that being in favour of discussing separation in a what-if situation and actually supporting separation are two very different things. "Certainly, different words would give you different numbers," Ellis said, adding attaching Kyoto to the issue of separation significantly drives the numbers up. "It's not as clear a read on independence itself as it is on what a fighting mood Albertans are getting into over Kyoto," he said.
- - -
Male Female Alberta
* Ratify 25.0 22.7 23.9
* Don't Ratify 61.1 52.5 56.9
* Undecided 5.4 8.7 7.0
* Don't know enough 8.4 16.0 12.3

- - -
Calgary Edmonton Total Alta
* Ratify 19.1 37.5 23.9
* Don't Ratify 63.5 40.0 56.9
* Undecided 6.1 7.9 7.0
* Don't know enough 11.3 14.5 12.3

- - -
Male Female Alberta
* Nothing can be done 40.9 46.6 43.8
* Explore Independence 49.3 44.5 46.8
* Seek to join U.S. 9.8 8.9 9.4
That was the story three years ago. To judge from this, there are now fewer people willing to consider separation.

There are, of course, two other polls that are relevant. In the last provincial election, the Separation Party of Alberta gathered 4680 votes, less than 1% of the total votes cast. Four years before that, candidates associated with the Alberta Independence Party gathered 7521 votes running as independents.

Judging from both sets of data, support for separatism is declining.

[Edited to replace Alberta Report story with a Calgary Sun story that is a little shorter and a little more direct.]