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Romanian universities, given a negative rating

The 2010 ranking of universities by integrity indicates that the wages of certain professors, amounting to tens of thousands of Euros, plagiarism and dishonest contests are hardly a thing of the past. The members of the Romanian Academic Society (SAR) think that, in the future, these rankings should be done by students, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ reports. At the height of the economic crisis, the ideal workplace seems to be the university. Here, wages may reach up to EUR 10,000 a month. Moreover, apparently, it is hardly a challenge to take such a position, defying the problems in the educational system, provided that “you know the right people.” It doesn’t even matter whether you published any articles in an ISI-rated scientific journal, data indicate that you can easily obtain a seat in a doctoral school. All it takes, for the “cycle” to be complete, is that you grant to others, in turn, such titles. This surreal scenario is fairly close to the real picture in 2010, and such practices were exposed by the Ranking of public universities in Romania, in terms of integrity, made by SAR.


“Although most universities reported some progress compared to last year, we haven’t got, as yet, a five-star university, that is, one that is faultless as far as integrity is concerned. We do have, however, universities which advanced from two to three stars, as well as universities which fell to a lower rating, precisely because public interest information, which was posted on the websites last year, is no longer accessible this year,” Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, coordinator of the project, explained.


The first three positions in this year’s ranking of universities were claimed, as last year, by the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Targu-Mures, the “Iuliu Hatieganu” University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Cluj-Napoca, and the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi, in this order. The last university in terms of integrity is the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in Bucharest, whose rector is infamous for his involvement in the case in which Puiu Popovici was charged with causing a EUR 336 M-damage against the Romanian state. The institution was rated as “unclassifiable,” owing to the total lack of transparency.


As in the 2009 ranking, the criteria for evaluation were administrative transparency and fairness, academic fairness, the quality of governance and financial management. This year, however, the research process was no longer taken from scratch, and the jury focused instead on the way in which the seats of higher education acted, in the meantime, upon the recommendations made last year. “We focused on the aspects which could be set right. We sent in requests (…) to receive the documents not posted on the websites, acquisitions worth more than EUR 10,000, positions advertised, statements of wealth,” Mungiu-Pippidi stated.


The hierarchy made based on last year’s integrity ranking was not greatly altered, that is to say, higher education institutions have failed to address the problems in a year’s time. Nevertheless, there have been spectacular comebacks, as in the case of the “Aurel Vlaicu” University in Arad, which switched from no star to three.

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