Friday, March 26, 2010
Universities in Lithuania have it hard: salaries are dropping for the workers, and at the same time, the fees for studies go up. No one is happy and quality of studies is eroding. However, now one Kaunas-based university has found a solution to make money quick with little effort: selling of diplomas.
First, they tried to sell a diploma to a girl living in France: she wanted to be master of political science, because she was from a diplomatic family, as I heard. She had no previous studies in politics, and the university did not teach the subject in English, but as enough money was put on table, there suddenly was no problems. However, when too many professors were requiring her participating in exams, it suddenly was too much for her, and she quit the studies.
Still, the university had opened the Pandora's Box, and it took only a few months until they were trying again this new financial planning. This time, a doctoral degree was for sale.
Lithuanian students studying for a PhD pay 12000 ltl for the studies, unless they get a scholarship. However, now a Dutch writer wanted to get the degree due to his book on his life in Soviet Union. Memoirs worth a degree, as they had agreed with the earlier dean.
This of course caused some turmoil among the staff, as first of all, he was not qualified, the book was not political nor scientific and third, he wanted to be given the degree without him showing any effort. Resolution: some people agreed to write him passing courses required for the PhD studies, and everything was prepared. However, the money became an issue: as Netherlands is a poor country, 3500 euros was an obstacle too big for the writer - he had been given the impression that it would cost only around 1200 euros. - this was solved, and he got the studies with a third of the price of the local students.
No outsiders were informed on the decisions taken, and the local students still have to study for the degree and pay the regular price totally unknowing of the new discounted degree.
Thus, if you ever see a foreigner who studied a PhD in Lithuania, ask to see the dissertation. It may be that he just paid a pittance for the title. However, the local students still have to work for their paper.
If you would like to use the abovementioned opportunity and get yourself a qualification to work in the scientific community as well as an expert on about anything, run to Kaunas with your master's - it may be just enough for a foreigner!


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