Bratislava, November 23 (TASR) – The Education, Science, Research and Sport Ministry has drawn up an amendment to the University Act based on which it will be possible to abrogate university degrees if obtained unlawfully, stated Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Martina Lubyova (an SNS nominee) at a press conference on Friday, adding that the bill is set to be submitted for its comment phase next week.
“Universities will remain responsible for the quality of university education, including the final thesis defence, even after the draft law is put into force,” said Lubyova, adding that the ministry doesn’t intend to interfere with the university processes.
According to the ministry, the new legislation should set out the reasons for which the unlawfully obtained academic degrees could be abrogated. These reasons include, for instance, a graduate legally convicted of blackmail, coercion, copyright and industrial property infringement or corruption as well as a situation when the final thesis is written by a third person.
Lubyova went on to say that a principle of retroactivity should apply in this issue as well. “When you have a [academic] title and it is found out that there were some violations during the earlier stages of your [university] studies that make them invalid, your title will be automatically declared invalid as well,” said the minister.
Lubyova further pointed out that the only institutions that are currently entitled to decide about copyright infringement vis-a-vis final theses are courts. No ministry, universities or academic commissions are entitled to do so, she added.
[The issue of legitimacy of university degrees has hit the media as well as the political scene following the allegations that Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko’s (SNS) rigorous thesis was plagiarised. Earlier this week Danko survived an Opposition attempt to oust him over the issue in the House – ed. note].