Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Germany and Plagiarism Woes

Over the past decade, there's been this game played out between the SPD Party and the CDU/CSU Party of Germany.

It revolves around plagiarism and college degrees.  It's hard to say who started it but it's gone back and forth.  Some unknown source will confront a university....citing some information that a master's degree or PhD degree given to such-and-such student from a decade or two decades ago....had plagiarism issues.

Serious charges of course.  So they convene a committee, investigate, and render a verdict.  So far, only one guy (an SPD guy) has survived this accusation.  The rest have all lost their degrees.  With the loss of the degree....their position and job within the government goes up in smoke.

This week, it was a Hessen guy.  Wolfgang Dippel, Social System Secretary.

He wrote up a dissertation in 1995 at the University of Kassel.  From what they say....it was about local policy regarding the community of Kassel.

A decade after getting the PhD degree, he was mayor of Fulda (2004 to 2014).

From what Dippel says....it was roughly a 200-page document, and they found two or three areas that he didn't cite the source.  He says (I must note that the University has said little to nothing) that fifteen professors read the piece and found no problem in 1995.

Where did this compliant come from?  Anonymous.  Yeah, the university won't say.

What will happen now?  I would imagine a committee within the CDU will go to work....find five or six SPD folks with degrees, and get to work on their plagiarism issues.  Maybe they even have people already selected and ready to go. Tit for tat.....over and over.

All of this simply puts more pressure on the university system in Germany.  At some point, someone is going to sue the university and force the anonymous folks to be pointed out.

As for the plagiarism issue?  If you go back three hundred years.....you had a verbal assessment, with questions and answers by the instructors of the  institution.  If you answered enough to show your competence, you went on.  Instructors over the past hundred years got lazy and preferred this method of writing out your project and assessing your writing skills as being more important than the knowledge itself.

Eventually, we will get down to the point where most German political folks are truck drivers or beauty-parlor enthusiasts.

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