Romanian education system rocked by scandals Ministerpräsident Viktor Ponta / Plagiat … http://www.faz.net/
19 JUN 12 / 13:50:45
Prime Minister Victor Ponta has denied accusations that he copied parts of his PhD thesis, claiming it is all part of a political plot against h
Plagiarism involving two education ministers is a serious blow to the system in Romania and the country’s international reputation.
By Paul Ciocoiu for Southeast European Times in Bucharest — 26/05/12
The education system in Romania is said to be „riddled by plagiarism and nepotism.“ [Reuters]
The new coalition government had barely assumed power in Bucharest earlier this month, when it was shaken by two plagiarism-related scandals — opening a debate on whether Romania’s education system has suffered a complete loss of credibility, at home and abroad. Education Minister nominee Corina Dumitrescu withdrew her candidacy after the media reported she plagiarised a law book that she co-authored with her husband. Days later, the new appointee, Professor Ion Mang from the Oradea University in northwestern Romania, was also accused of plagiarising at least eight of his academic books. Mang insisted the accusations are politically motivated, but he resigned. „The entire academic system in Romania is riddled by plagiarism and nepotism. These are its endemic diseases,“ Stefan Vlaston, the head of the Association for Education and Research that deals with education reform, told SETimes. Vlaston said education minister-designates are often selected from a pool of candidates without qualifications, but they seek the positions to reap the substantial benefits — and are often willing to go to great lengths to obtain them. The two scandals appeared amid an ongoing debate on the poor state of the country’s educational system. Last year, the Democrat-Liberal government installed video cameras during the baccalaureate exams to curb cheating, after which the passing rate dropped to less than 45% — the lowest in since 2000. Vlaston said a reform is under way to stem plagiarism and nepotism, but it needs both sustained government effort and public support to succeed. „The education law passed by the previous government has very tough stipulations against plagiarism and nepotism in the educational system. Now we have state institutions, such as the Research Ethic Council, that can check academic papers for plagiarism. After a year and a half, we can sense significant progress in fighting nepotism at universities, where 50% of employees were previously assessed as having no academic values,“ he said. Most bloggers said the scandals‘ gravity is greater than it seems. „We are talking about a word-for-word plagiarism by a university professor, a pro-rector, a lawmaker, a minister, a man seen by the government as representative of the Romanian academic community,“ Dr. Virgil Iordache, a researcher at the Biology Faculty of the Bucharest University, said. Partizanu argued the effects of plagiarism — often coupled with nepotism — leave Romanians wondering just who manages the educational system’s reform. „Are teachers motivated to be correct under such circumstances? If we want fair competition in schools and universities, then the situation also depends on teachers and professors. When they have Mr. Mang or his predecessor as their model, what kind of progress can we expect?“ Partizanu said. The Ad Astra association of Romanian scientists said „it is essential in Romania that any high-ranking official, proven to have plagiarised, is removed immediately and the academic title is withdrawn. Romania’s credibility in the world depends on the very fact the state dignitaries are irreproachable.“ The request is even more imperative to implement since the ministry of education and research is at stake, the communiqué said. „No other professional reason can justify the occupation of a public office by a person … found guilty of plagiarism and professional fraud. Not observing this principle is extremely harmful for the other academics, pupils and students and the whole society,“ the association said. In an article posted on VoxPublica, a blog platform, Constantin Cretan said that plagiarism has never been combated in a serious manner in Romania. … setimes rsität of New York, Tirana Wichtigste Produktiv Tätigkeit in Albanien: Handy Bomben bauen – Fälschungen aller Art Mit gefälschten Diplomen zur 2. höchsten Polizistin > Präsidentin des Kosovo aufsteigen: Atifete Jahjaga President of Kosovo: Man kauft sich Schul Zeugnisse und Titel in Albanien Albanian Lawyers Attack Corrupt Choice of Judges Tausende von gefälschten Diplome und Titel der Mafia Universität Tetova, sind erneut Schlagzeilen 7 Hoch Schul Lehrer der neuen Uni in Kamzes, sind der Korruption angeklagt. 7 Direktoren der Steuer Behörde wegen gefälschten Diplomen angeklagt. Österreich anerkennt Diplome Wissenschaftler und Bildung in Albanien und Mazedonien: Null Ahnung – und ein typischer Albaner Vorfall mit einer Fähre
Geisteswissenschaftler unter Kritik
Die Mehrheit der albanischen Geisteswissenschaftler standen bei einer Tagung in Tirana unter Kritik: »Anachronistische offizielle Deutungen der Geschichte und floskelhafte Sprachregelungen in albanischen Publikationen klingen vielfach noch wie aus der Mottenkiste der totalitären Regime des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts«, erklärten junge albanische und ausländische Geister an der Konferenz. »Intellektuelle Starre und Diskursfeindlichkeit« wird den albanischen Geisteswissenschaftler weiter vorgeworfen. Man isoliere sich und ignoriere die internationale Forschung. Eine Aufarbeitung der kommunistischen Vergangenheit habe noch nicht stattgefunden. >> Lesenswerter Bericht von Pandeli Pani, Deutsche Welle: Wissenschaft im Dienste der Ideologie
Report: poor education affects Albanias economic growth
TIRANA, Albania The low level of education in Albania is hindering economic growth, according to a new report by the World Bank, quoted by local media on Monday (November 30th). Albania has fewer educated employees compared to developed countries and countries in the region, the document concluded. Currently, Albania has the lowest number of high school graduates 48.7% compared to 62% in the Balkans. By the end of 2009, more than half of the big companies in the country cited lack of knowledge among their employees as their biggest barrier. The World Bank said this is critical, as companies are the catalyst for potential future economic growth. Albania is spending less on education, the report noted, and ten times less on scientific research than EU countries. (Top Channel, News 24, Top News – 30/11/10) A New Agenda for Albanias Future Growth (Press Release) Albanische Wissenschaft isoliert sich Albanien Kosovo:: mit einem Null Bildungs Stand und selbst ernannten Partei Buch Lehrer
In Albania, Can a U.S. Diploma Deliver?
By D.D. GUTTENPLAN
TIRANA, ALBANIA Rising above the dingy back streets of the Albanian capital, the silhouette, instantly recognizable, shines out like a promise: the Statue of Liberty, symbol of America, land of opportunity and also the logo of the University of New York, Tirana (U.N.Y.T.), where students pay more than $32,500 for what a sign in the lobby describes as the only real European and American education in the country.
On its elaborate Web site, U.N.Y.T. paints a glowing picture of students enjoying a typical American university experience complete with student union, college sports, and campus social life without having to ever leave Albania. Although known locally as New York University-Tirana the name listed on its official charter from the Albanian government the school has no connection with the campus in Greenwich Village. Nor does it have a dining hall, dormitories, gym, or stadium the Web page covering sports has been under construction for more than a year. The photograph of a library, featured on the cover of the schools handsomely printed brochure, was in fact taken elsewhere, school officials concede.
Bevis Fusha for the International Herald Tribune
The entrance to the University of New York, Tirana.
But the classes are in English. And thanks to an arrangement with the State University of New York this private Albanian institution does offer its 650 students the chance to acquire an American diploma. By paying the for-profit U.N.Y.T. an extra $100 per credit, for the first three years plus an additional $5,000 for the final year, students can graduate with a degree from Empire State College, a division of SUNY based in Saratoga Springs devoted to adult education and nontraditional learning.
Known by various labels validated or franchised degrees, supported programs, or branch campuses such arrangements between universities in the United States, Britain or Australia and various private providers in the developing world have become increasingly common.
While students in Tirana seem satisfied, critics say that with a revenue structure based on tuition fees, and an admissions process subject to the need to recruit paying customers, all too frequently these arrangements deliver the form, but not the substance, of an academic education.
Armand Kapllani, a 2007 Empire State/U.N.Y.T. graduate now studying at Southern Methodist University in Dallas said that many of his courses were pitched at the level of an American high school. We didnt even learn how to use a financial calculator. You are graduating with a degree in finance and you dont know how to use the calculator, he said.
But Gavin Lowder, director of international programs at SUNY Empire State, says U.N.Y.T. is held to the same academic guidelines as the rest of the college. There are no separate standards for our Tirana program.
Konstantine Giakoumis, U.N.Y.T.s deputy rector, said in an interview that the curriculum is jointly drafted and approved by committees of both universities.
On a recent visit to the Albanian campus, SUNYs influence seemed more like a label than an active presence. The overwhelming majority of courses are taught by local faculty members hired without any input from SUNY, who also have little say over the content. Of 15 Empire State courses offered in the autumn 2011 catalogue, only three appear to be taught by instructors with doctorates. Our teachers are not SUNY faculty. Not directly, said Mr. Giakoumis. Empire State College, he added does not have centrally managed exams. Instead exams are set and marked by the faculty in Tirana.
Faculty members teaching SUNY courses are expected to be approved by the program director, Mr. Lowder said in an e-mail. As part of the approval process, résumés are reviewed and approved. Where possible, faculty are interviewed prior to the semester, he said. But he admitted that faculty teaching U.N.Y.T. courses are not subject to Empire State review or approval. For example, Mr. Giakoumis holds a bachelors degree from Athens University and a doctorate from the Center for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Birmingham, yet teaches both U.S. History and Diplomatic History.
Asked about the claim that the school offers an American education, school officials said that the description is echoing the universitys concerned and concentrated efforts to adopt the best models from well-established American universities.
Mr. Kapllani said a group of three to four faculty members from SUNY visited the campus once or maybe twice a year.
According to Mr. Lowder, a team from Empire State last visited Tirana in October; the second visit this year is scheduled for the end of February. Because of budget constraints, the program director does not make visits outside of the team visits unless absolutely necessary, he said.
To students, what matters is the credential the prestige of an American degree. And on that score Mr. Kapllani had no complaints. I had a wonderful time there when I was a student. A degree from U.N.Y.T. is quite respectable and it opens many doors in Albania, he said.
Anisa Vrenozi, currently a junior, said My studying experience in this university has been an excellent one, and I think I have made the best choice choosing this university.
But Philip Altbach, director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, says student satisfaction may not be the right measure. The demand for American or British credentials is so high, regulation so lax, and the opportunity for profit so tempting that when universities balance their educational missions against their business interests education often loses, he said. American universities, he said, had a special responsibility to make sure we live up to our own standards in any overseas venture.
On paper, the 13-page Memorandum of Understanding between SUNY and the University of New York, Tirana, supplied on request to a reporter, appears to spell out high standards. Although students can take as many as 96 credits, or about three years worth of courses, from U.N.Y.T. and need only 32 SUNY credits to graduate, all students must fulfill the specific requirements set forth in the E.S.C. guidelines for the degree and the specific major.
These include SUNYs general education requirements and all pre-requisite courses for a students chosen major. Albanian faculty members teaching E.S.C. courses appointments are subject to joint approval by both institutions. Student progress is also monitored by both institutions, and Empire States Academic Program Director is authorized to review grade distribution in all courses and for all faculty.
On the ground in Tirana the picture is less reassuring. Although the memorandum describes both schools as partners, the precise nature of the relationship between SUNY and U.N.Y.T. is difficult to pin down. U.N.Y.T. is itself part of the New York College Group logo: the Statue of Liberty in blue silhouette over the initials NYC a Greek company with outposts in Athens and Thessaloniki and other branches in Prague and Belgrade.
William Lawton, director of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, a London-based research institution that monitors academic exchange, said there are different levels of control, from validation and franchising up to branch campus. Basically in franchising the home institution provides the curriculum; in validation they dont.
But in the past year validation has become a badge of dishonor in British academic circles because of a series of scandals at the University of Wales, which was shown by the BBC to have validated bogus degrees at Fazley International College, a university named after its founder, a Malaysian pop star, and to have allowed students at Rayat London College, a private school offering University of Wales M.B.A. courses, to pay for qualifications. The damage to its reputation was so great that the university, founded in 1893, closed its doors in October.
According to Judith Eaton of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation in Washington, U.S. universities do not have the legal authority to accredit or otherwise sanction (validate) the awarding of a degree by another institution. Any joint arrangements would come within the purview of accrediting organizations that review the home campus, she said.
Empire State College, like the rest of SUNY, is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, based in Philadelphia. Richard Pokrass, a spokesman for the organization, said in an e-mail, SUNY/Empire State College is accredited by our Commission, but University of New York, Tirana, is not. UNY-Tirana is approved by our Commission as an other instructional site for SUNY/Empire State College.
Asked whether the accreditors had ever seen his campus, Mr. Giakoumis said I believe inspectors travelled to Greece and Prague, but not to Tirana. Mr. Pokrass later confirmed that Other instructional sites are typically not visited.
On a brief visit at the end of January, a reporter watched Keler Gjika listlessly take a class on Advanced Finance through practice questions from Damodaran online, a popular Web site maintained by Aswath Damodaran, a professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University.
As students stared inertly at the projected screen images, the exercise seemed a long way from an American classroom and also in striking contrast to the atmosphere at the European University of Tirana, another private college on the other side of the city. All the classes there were in Albanian, but the lively discussion in classrooms and cafeteria, and the well-stocked and busy library suggested an institution where curiosity was as important as credentials.
Despite its offering only an Albanian degree, the rector, Tonin Gjuraj, said the school had no trouble filling its 2,500 places. Albania was a poor countsaid Mrry. An isolated country. People are eager to get ahead, . Gjuraj, a former Albanian ambassador to Israel.(Albanian Diplomat Mafia) Darjel Sina, who teaches law, described the schools tuition of $3,300 a year or $7,900 for a three-year course for those who pay in cash as not cheap. But its not expensive. For popular fields like medicine, law or finance, the competition at Albanias public universities, where tuition is $200 to $530 a year, is intense. The large number who fail to secure a place guarantees a demand for private providers.
Kevin Kinser, an expert on cross-border education at SUNY Albany (which is not connected to E.S.C.), said the U.N.Y.T. connection with Empire State College is a way of developing legitimacy a branding issue. The conflict comes into it when the public institution asks, why should we devote any attention to serving individuals outside our constituents? What weve found in our research is that if its out of state, its out of mind.
Although both Mitch Leventhal, SUNYs vice chancellor for global affairs, and Gavin Lowder, the director of Empire State Colleges international programs, declined to be interviewed, Mr. Lowder did answer questions by e-mail. This program is not funded by taxpayer dollars, Mr. Lowder said. It is a self-funded program. In addition, the program provides opportunities for Empire State College faculty to have international experience, which enhances teaching and learning. He insisted that faculty are hired only in consultation with E.S.C. and that the curriculum is in accordance with college guidelines.
It is also profitable. For every four-credit Empire State course offered at U.N.Y.T. collects $1,200 the price is fixed in dollars of which it keeps $384. The balance is passed along to SUNY, along with 68 percent of portfolio fees ($315), orientation ($50), telecommunication ($100 per term) and an assessment fee for transfer credits of as much as $1500. This year, U.N.Y.T. enrolled 111 students in Empire State courses; there are similar arrangements for New York Colleges campuses in Greece and the Czech Republic.
With no investment needed for buildings or teaching staff, and the promise of regular returns, such arrangements are increasingly popular with cash-strapped Western universities. In Albania, a country still emerging from long years of isolation under the Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha, U.N.Y.T.s promise of a guarantee for your future will always find plenty of takers. But as Mr. Lawton, of the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education, warns, the financial risk is inverse to the risk to reputation.
SUNY is at the leading edge of commercialization, but in these days of financial pressure others will be close behind, said Philip Altbach. By relying on self-assessment, he warns, American accreditors are leaving the fox to regulate the chicken coop. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13 D.D. Guttenplan (12 February 2012), In Albania, Can a U.S. Diploma Deliver?, The New York Times, retrieved February 14, 2012 http://www.unyt.edu.al/unyt/index.php?pg=contact Titel Werbung!
Jedes Studium und Fakultät, benötigt eine Anerkennung durch das Bildungs Ministerium in Albanien. Das extrem niedrige Bildungs Niveau, gepaart mit Ignoranz und einer Deppen Tradition, wird jeden weiteren Wirtschaftlichen Fortschritt von Albanien behindern, wie auch ein Weltbank Report nun feststellt. Prominetester Diplom Betrüger: Fadil Suleimani, und sein in 2009 verhaftet Frau: Guler (gefälschte Diplome im Tausender Paket, mit geklauten Original Stempeln der richtigen Universität. Neben den gekauften Diplomen in Phristina, Tirana, wurde vor allem der Verbrecher Fadil Sulejmani, mit seiner Tetova Universität bekannt, der sogar Einreise Verbot 2003 in die EU, EFTA Staaten und USA erhielt. Noch peinlicher in der Betrugs Ausbildung, sind dann auch noch inkompetente Professoren und Dozenten (sagt Bildungsminister Nikola Todorov) der Deutschen Welle), welche extrem dumm sind, weil man selbst alle Urkunden und Schulzeugnisse gekauft, was in Mazedonien amtlich festgestellt wurde. Und so verblödet ein Staat und ein Volk, was man bestens auch an den Politikern in Albanien sehen kann. Muster Beispiel auch hier der als Lulu, bekannte Innenminister Lulzim Basha, der in Holland (Utrecht, Erotik Bar Jan Bik ) eine lustige Bordell Karriere schon machte. Solche einfältige und dumme Leute, haben ja Europa eine 100% Garantie gegeben, das alle Albaner sich korrekt verhalten, was der Pyschopat Salih Berisha dann auch noch bestätigte. Garantien ist ein Markenzeichen, der Albanischen Verblödung, was sich so heute in der Politik tummelt. Das ist ziemlich identisch, mit dem Schwachsinn, von Schweine Grippe, Humanitären Kriegen und der ständigen Terror Gefahr in Deutschland. Just criminal idiots! Corruption in the judiciary is pervasive. Many judges issue rulings that do not appear to have any basis in law or fact, leading some to believe that the only plausible explanation is corruption or political pressure. Broad immunity enjoyed by judges prohibits prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations until they make a public request to the High Council of Justice to lift the accused judges immunity, and receive its approval. Few judges have been prosecuted for corruption because most criminal investigations must remain secret, at least initially, in order to be successful.