The Slovak parliament passed a law on Thursday stating that a person found to have plagiarized parts of his diploma loses his academic qualifications, but this will only apply to fraud cases starting next year, notes the DPA on Friday.
Anyone who has plagiarized so far to get a diploma in Slovakia can keep their academic title, including politicians, according to agerpres.ro.
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The new legislation comes after a series of plagiarism scandals involving politicians in recent months, including conservative prime minister Igor Matovic, parliamentary spokesman, right-wing populist Boris Kollar and liberal education minister Branislav Groehling.
Journalist Maria Benedikovicova used detailed comparisons between the texts of the daily Dennik N to show that much of the arguments of many of the country’s leading politicians were copied without citing the sources correctly.
Matovic admitted in July that he plagiarized his doctoral thesis and said he resorted to deception and other work during his studies.
The revelations – and the reactions of the politicians exposed – sparked a storm of indignation. However, the censorship motions in parliament were all rejected by the majority coalition.
In response to the bill, student representatives expressed satisfaction for the first time at the possibility of withdrawing unfairly obtained diplomas.
Matovic and other prominent politicians should lead by example and voluntarily give up their titles, they said.