WENR, Nov./Dec. 2001: Europe

Regional News



Scoala Postliceala Sanitara Craiova a Recognized Nursing School
The Romanian government recognizes all diplomas from the Scoala Postliceala Sanitara Craiova, an accredited state institution of allied-health education. This is a one-year supplementary program; admission requires a recognized diploma de bacalauret.
In Romania, training courses in nursing are offered at the secondary-school level, beginning with grade eight. Students who did not specialize in nursing in high school can take a two-year postsecondary nursing course to get certified. However, the Romanian Ministry of Education [1] and the Ministry of Health have agreed upon the equivalence of one additional year at the Scoala Postliceala Sanitara Craiova for high school nursing students. This option brings all high school nursing graduates to the same level as those who finished the postsecondary program.
Correspondence from Romania Ministry of Education and Research
Sept. 16, 2001


Terrorism Threat May Loosen Privacy Laws
On Sept. 30, Humboldt University [2] admitted to releasing personal information on 23 Arab students to the German government. The decision represents a sharp reversal of a long-standing policy to protect individual privacy guaranteed under German law.
Embarrassed that the terrorists who carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon had resided undetected in Germany, the government is discussing ways that would reassess its liberal protection policies. Laws regarding banking and immigration may be changed in an effort to combat terrorism.
The New York Times [3]
Oct. 1, 2001


More Students Opt for Professional Licentiate Program
The newest of the French university diplomas, the professional licentiate degree (licence professionelle), created for the 2000-2001 academic year, saw twice the number of students enrolled this year–9000 compared to last year’s 4,400 according to the French Ministry of Education [4].
For the beginning of this academic year, 182 new majors in professional degrees have been created, bringing the total number to 360. The Ministry of Professional Training reported that 86 percent of students enroll in the first year, while 14 percent–often older students–enroll in the second or third years after benefiting from credit acquired through professional experience. The licence professionelle, created to facilitate immediate entry into the job market, incorporates both academic study and internships. The program was immediately successful; universities received 500 applications for the program in the first year, although only 178 majors were initially offered.
The students enrolled in professional licentiate programs currently make up approximately 4 percent of students enrolled in the traditional “classic” licentiate programs. Their profile is noticeably different: the majority of students is male (63 percent) and tends to come from disadvantaged socio-economic groups. Twenty-two percent of them come upper-middle class backgrounds, while 13 percent come from working class backgrounds (compared with 30 and 11 percent enrolled in classic licentiate programs, respectively).
Professional licentiate programs have been implemented throughout France, with particular focus on the new universities whose populations are drawn from the suburbs. The five academies of Marseille, Bordeaux, Lyon, Nancy and Toulouse receive 38 percent of their students from the provincial regions outside of Paris, while the 3 percent of academies inside Paris account for only 17 percent.
The Diploma of Higher Specialized Studies has also expanded adding 249 new programs in 2001 to the 312 programs it introduced in 2000. This brings the number of advanced degrees to a total of 2000.
Le Monde.fr [5]
Oct. 8, 2001


Teacher Corruption Discussed
In 1983, the International Anticorruption Conference [6] began holding biannual forums in which politicians, bankers, law enforcement officials, academics and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) converged to discuss corruption in all areas of life and how to combat it. This year’s conference, held in Prague, focused largely on the affects of corruption on the education sector.
In most Western countries, the purpose of hiring teachers is to educate children. But in many poorer nations teachers are merely civil servants vulnerable to the same kinds of corruption as other government officials. In Africa and some of the more destitute parts of Asia for example, students must bribe their way into teacher-training colleges, and then once they’ve been assigned a teaching position resort to bribing students and parents as a way to make extra cash.
Absenteeism (where teachers collect their pay but do not show up for work) is a growing problem in parts of Africa. In rural areas it is also common for teachers to use students as unpaid laborers on their farms.
The so-called “text book racket” represents yet another example of corruption in the education sector. In francophone West Africa ministries of education charge twice the amount for textbooks that is charged in France, and laws requiring students and schools to buy new textbooks each year ensure that profits continue to line the pockets of ministry officials
In Poland, teachers are appointed for life and cannot be fired for such offences as abusing students or even coming to class drunk. Teachers cannot be prosecuted for accepting bribes under Polish law because bribing a teacher is not considered a crime in that country.
The buying and selling of diplomas and entrance exams is a blatant problem in Kazakhstan and other former republics of the Soviet Union. Under the communist system, getting ahead meant having the right connections; now it is largely contingent on how much money you have.
Nicholas Benett, a former World Bank education specialist who has worked extensively in sub-Sahara Africa, argues that corruption among teachers is particularly destructive because teachers are supposed to serve as role models in society.
Radio Free Europe [7]
Oct. 10, 2001


University Policy Reform Sought
In Greece the government only recognizes its own institutions of higher education. Private colleges and universities have been declared unconstitutional and therefore do not enjoy state recognition. Privately owned institutions of higher education operate under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Commerce because the government has labeled them “laboratories of free study.”
Graduates from private institutions are not eligible for government jobs and licensed professions. Despite these setbacks, the shortage of places at state- sanctioned universities has boosted attendance at private universities, especially by women. For many years now the government’s inability to satisfy the growing demand for higher education in Greece has been forcing many students to study abroad. At the same time, few foreign students choose to come to Greece for higher education because of the government’s stringent policies. However, opposition is mounting in the Greek government to reform the country’s system of higher education, which would include the recognition of private universities.
The Chronicle of Higher Education [8]
Sept. 21, 2001


Tuition Fees Leave Debt
Britain’s recent introduction of tuition fees has already left a large number of students in serious debt. The average debt upon college graduation in the U.K. currently hovers somewhere between US$20,000 and $23,000 per student.
Students are often debt-ridden for many years after they graduate. Many of them struggle to make payments on loans while others cannot pay off the full amount and end up ruining their credit.
BBC News [9]
Nov. 16, 2001


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