Rise in Greek exam fraud

August 31, 2001

Increasing demand for higher qualifications is making Greek universities vulnerable to illegal activities and a fertile ground for easy riches and ill-gotten gains.

At the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, some students were given exam subjects in advance, while others' papers were corrected by examiners at fees that were reported to be between e3,000-e15,000 (£2,000-£9,000).

Students and parents have tried to secure university places by taking advantage of favourable conditions for athletes and night-school students. In the first case, officials of athletic federations were ready, for a payment, to issue certificates showing that students had taken part in international tournaments that entitled them to a university place.

Students from rich families were registered as employed in the businesses of their parents' friends so that they would be entitled to attend night school, but instead of working during the day, they attended expensive private intensive courses, gaining a double advantage.

Police have uncovered a network that provided answers to examinations that foreign-degree holders have to undergo in order to have their qualifications recognised in Greece. An Arab and a number of Greek associates were arrested while relaying the answers to the candidates inside the examination centres via a sophisticated electronic circuit.

Six lecturers and four officials at the Pandion Economic University have been charged in connection with the mishandling of funds in excess of e440,000. As members of a committee for materials provisions, they allegedly signed invoices for third parties that they then collected themselves issuing false or forged documents. This is the second case in just over a year. The trial of the first, involving e4.4 million, is due to start in September.

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