NEWS

Degrees fail to pass test

The Education Ministry said yesterday that it has caught more than 300 Greek students falsely attempting to gain recognition of foreign university degrees they claim to have obtained while studying abroad. Deputy Education Minister Spyros Taliadouros said that the 310 students had attended universities mostly in Romania, Bulgaria, Russia and Albania in the last three years. Officials added that improved checks by the National Academic Recognition and Information Center (DOATAP), a state body that recognizes degrees, detected the scam. «The involvement of universities has not been proven. We are obliged to re-examine the issue of their legality and, of course, we need to cooperate with the country’s authorities to find out who is responsible for the fraud,» said Georgios Leontaris, the president of DOATAP, which has replaced DIKATSA. Part of the recognition process involves DOATAP crosschecking the information it has been given by the candidate with the university. The foreign tertiary institutions involved told officials that the degrees they were checking belonged to other names and not the Greek students. The forged degrees were from medical, engineering, business and law students. The involvement of Romanian and Bulgarian universities is troubling local Education Ministry officials as the two countries recently joined the EU and Greece is therefore obligated to accept their degrees. The government does not offer professional rights to students who have attended EU universities unless the degree is assessed and recognized by DOATAP. On a per capita basis, Greece exports the largest number of tertiary students in the world. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 5,474 Greeks study in countries that do not belong to the OECD, mainly in Romania and Bulgaria. A total of 51,138 Greeks have chosen to study at universities abroad with the largest numbers, some 22,826, attending British universities.