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News 10 Feb 14

Kosovo Students Vow New Protests Over Fraud

Students said they would continue demonstrating despite the resignation of the University of Pristina’s rector, who stepped down after protests over alleged PhD fraud by professors.

Edona Peci

Students at Kosovo's top college said in a statement on Sunday that they would not end their actions until “all academic degrees and PhDs are verified and until the statute of the University of Pristina is changed to add autonomy and transparency to it and remove politics from it”.

The statement came a day after Ibrahim Gashi, the rector of the University of Pristina, resigned amid increasing public pressure and criticism of his academic background and management skills.

Over 30 people were arrested and several injured when a student protest in Pristina turned violent on Friday.

Last month, the University of Pristina became a target of criticism after local media reported that professors got PhD degrees after publishing false papers in phantom magazines in India and other countries.

Critics have urged the authorities to establish an inquiry into the ways PhDs were given out by the university.

Four out of nine members of the presiding council of the University of Pristina also stepped down on Monday after Gashi resigned.

Muharrem Nitaj, the head of the council, said he quit after he "was unable to fulfill" his duties.

The university has also been hit by several other corruption-related scandals in the past months.

Gashi described his resignation as “a moral act” and said he hope that it would help the university to return to normal.

But he accused the students of being “used and politicised by some NGOs and political parties”.

The students denied this, insisting that they were not led by any political force.

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