- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
Some 40 persons from a private university in Bucharest are under police scrutiny for alleged corruption - but the problem is widely seen as endemic in Romania.
Prosecutors from the country's anti-organised crime unit, DIICOT, on Thursday launched a corruption investigation into 40 persons, some of them professors, from a private university in Bucharest.
“We raided 22 homes and the headquarters of the private university. Around 40 people will be investigated for their role in a case of university corruption,” police said.
Two professors are accused of taking money from students in exchange for delivering them their exam questions in advance, according to Mediafax news agency.
The college in question, Bioterra, is a private university that lost its license to operate once before, 12 years ago, owing to its involvement in the issue of forged diplomas.
Analysts say latest case is just the tip of the iceberg.
Education analyst Stefan Vlaston says that “such cases are not rare in Romania. Corruption has invaded the education system, as bribes became promotional tools for many students”.
Corruption and cheating in tests have been a problem for years in Romanian schools, and were widespread even under the communist regime.
Since 1990, the shortage of jobs has motivated many students to try to graduate with flying colours at any price.
Furthermore, a large number of private universities and institutes have opened since 1990, some issuing dubious academic qualifications and making huge profits by enrolling vast numbers of students.
The quality of education in these private establishments is usually even lower than in the state system, experts say. Many of their graduates end up unemployed.
The low ethical culture in Romania's educational system has been reflected in several recent top-level plagiarism scandals.
In June, the National Council for Attesting Titles, Diplomas and University Certificates, CNADTCU, a body working under the umbrella of the Romanian Academy, said that Prime Minister Victor Ponta had plagiarized sections of his thesis and called for him to be stripped of his PhD.
A month later, an Education Ministry panel ruled that Ponta had written his doctoral thesis in accordance with academic standards, but the case is far from being closed.
In May, the Education Minister, Ioan Mang, resigned as a result of a row over his alleged plagiarism of scientific papers.
The Serbian paramilitary who became a key prosecution witness at his former comrades’ trial for war crimes in Kosovo says he had to speak out about the brutal massacres his unit committed.