After a public hullabaloo over his credentials, one of the Department of Education’s assistant deputy ministers has stopped calling himself doctor.
“Dr.” Albert Trask got in hot water last year after it was revealed he earned his PhD from a dodgy online bible college.
“In November, the assistant deputy minister came to a personal decision that this issue had become a distraction and was taking away from what the Yukon education system should be focussing on, which is students and their achievement and success,” Education spokesperson Ronuk Modha said in a statement.
“As a result, he withdrew the honorific title from his signature line as he carries out his duties on behalf of the department.”
When it came to light in November that Trask was signing education correspondence as “Dr. Albert Trask,” he was on the board that evaluates the credentials of teachers to determine their salary level.
Completing PhD-level courses at Trask’s alma mater, the Newburgh Theological Seminary & College of the Bible, involves reading books and summarizing their contents.
After paying US$2,595, you pick six books. For each book, you write a 10-20 page chapter-by-chapter summary of its contents. You may, but are not required to, reflect on what you learned.
If you do not wish to read so many books, you may replace up to three of them with what the school calls “no travel seminars.” For an extra $175 per seminar, you can download a video of a lecture. Now, you only have to summarize the content in four to six pages.
In order to complete the PhD, you have to submit a paper of a minimum of 60 pages. You must refer to at least 20 sources.
Quoting directly from your sources is encouraged, but not necessary.
The online school is based out of Indiana and is not recognized by major accrediting bodies in Canada or the U.S.
Accredited institutions hold PhD students to far higher standards.
Despite this, the Department of Education defended Trask’s right to call himself doctor.
Deputy Minister Valerie Royle pointed to how Newburg claims to be accredited by something called the Transworld Accrediting Commission International. But the U.S. Department of Education calls this sort of entity a “fake accreditation agency.”
Royle also said Trask’s religious credentials had no bearing on his hiring for the position.
Trask also holds a bachelor of arts, a bachelor of education and a master in educational administration from Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Newburgh acknowledges on its website that its school is not approved by mainstream accreditation bodies.
“Our programs are not designed to meet any specific local, state, territorial, regional, or national licensing or credentialing laws.
“The main question to be asked when considering a school is ‘Is this the school that will please God?’ If it pleases God then it doesn’t matter who is displeased.
“We feel the accreditation of God is on our school because we strive to please Him in academics and ministry training.”
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