President Klaus Iohannis who declared zero-tolerance to plagiarism after a minister resigned over plagiarism allegations said Romania needs to improve its legislation on academic cheating so that students are checked before being awarded a doctorate.
“When I said ‘zero tolerance’”, he said referring to earlier remarks: „I wasn’t referring to past laws, but to the future. New laws refer to what happens from now on,” he said on Thursday.
The president appointed his adviser Ligia Deca as the new minister of education after Sorin Cimpeanu resigned from the post on Sept. 29 after coming under fire for alleged plagiarism. He has not commented on the accusations.
The plagiarism allegations against Cimpeanu and other senior officials, including Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, have put Iohannis, who is seeking to push though reforms as part of his Educated Romania strategy, in a difficult position.
“I want to make sure I am understood. Some parts of the (education) law need to be improved… but that doesn’t mean scrapping the whole law,” he said.
“A doctoral thesis should be checked by anti-plagiarism software before (a student) is awarded a doctorate,” he said.
„Some legal provisions connected to integrity and ethics can be made better. In the future I hope that there won’t be plagiarism on theses on specialized subjects.”
After Cimpeanu resigned, the president attempted to rescue his flagship Educated Romania project with a plea for “zero tolerance” to plagiarism.
The president has instructed Ciuca’s government to pass the education laws passed as soon as possible amid some criticism from civic organizations and higher education institutions.