Blame the “system”

Blame the “system”

The party caucus of the largest governing coalition member OLaNO considers the case of Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollar's (We Are Family) diploma thesis to be a failure of the advisor, student, and opponent, as well as of the whole plagiarism checker system, its head Michal Sipoš stated after the caucus session on Monday. Last week media reports alleged that Kollar copied almost 25 percent of his master's thesis from an earlier work by his academic advisor at a private faculty in Skalica, which has been suspected of acting as a diploma factory. On Saturday, a junior member of the governing coalition For the People party urged Kollar to resign from his post. He has reacted by pledging not to use his title 'Mgr.' while active in politics, but insists that he wrote his 2015 diploma thesis in line with all the rules then in place. It's not possible under current legislation to strip Kollar of his academic degree.

The OLaNO party is demanding plagiarism checks for all bachelor, master and doctoral theses in academia, dated from a period to be determined by education minister Branislav Grohling (SaS) and Justice Minister Maria Koliková (For the People). In addition, legislation is to be drafted by September to enable universities to be stripped of their accreditation as a form of ultimate penalty. When asked by reporters whether it's fair to check all theses from the past for plagiarism and strip culprits of their academic degrees, many of whom might lose their jobs as a result - whereas Kollar will be allowed to stay in his post - Prime Minister Igor Matovič responded by stating that there's no legal requirement of university education for lawmakers.

Opposition MP and former Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini was quick to criticise the OLaNO party caucus for their stance. "Instead of unequivocally calling on the second most senior constitutional official to assume responsibility for his 'theft', they're going to persecute the whole nation based on the outrageous and unsubstantiated claim that half of the academic degrees in Slovakia are fraudulent," stated Pellegrini, who at some point in his political career also acted as Education Minister, in 2014.

Anca Dragu, Photo: TASR

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