Posts Tagged ‘Prague’

Plagiarising politicians and weekend Doctorates in the Czech Republic

November 4, 2011

The status conferred by academic titles in the Czech Republic is almost as strong as in Germany. Whereas in Germany it is the title of “Doctor” which is most sought after by politicians – as a stamp of public acknowledgement that one is a “deep thinker” – even a Masters degree in the Czech Republic can lead to the title  Pani magistra” or literally “Mrs Master’s degree holder.

Petty politicians appending academic titles to enhance their electoral chances is not of course so uncommon. What is surprising for me is that Prague and its citizens, who I think are extremely sophisticated and discerning in matters academic and who have a strong sense of the long academic traditions of the city, would be taken in by such nonsense.

And the mass-production of fake doctorates  by the law faculty of the University of West Bohemia (ZČU) in Plzeň  led to over 300,000 degree awards being audited in 2009! This even led to a Wikileaks cable from the US Embassy in Prague ( Wikileaks id #233660) in November 2009 about the scandal and reporting:

A joke is making the rounds: “What are you doing this weekend?” Answer: “Getting a law degree.”

Czech position  now reports that yet another politician is accused of plagiarism – this time for a Master’s thesis.

Prague district mayor ‘plagiarized’ his master’s thesis

… Two prominent academics who separately examined the master’s thesis of Prague 11 mayor Dalibor Mlejnský (Civic Democrats, ODS), due to suspicions of plagiarism, say the majority of the paper was indeed copied verbatim — and almost completely lacked citation. Mlejnský’s thesis titled “The History of Charles University” was lifted from two books (Jacques LeGoff’s “Intellectuals in the Middle Ages” and, more obviously, volumes of “The History of Charles University” by various scholars over the centuries, according to the two academics, who had been asked by the state broadcaster to make the expert assessments.


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