Bulgaria's Battle of Honor for University Education
Turkey has declared it will consider Bulgarian-issued university diplomas null and void for an indefinite period of time.
Turkey's Council of Higher Education, the institution in charge of accrediting foreign diplomas, defended its decision by saying that the production of counterfeit exam marks and diplomas had reached organized crime proportions.
The document dated July 5, as cited by Bulgarian Trud daily, says that Turkish authorities will not legalize Bulgarian university degrees, transfers from Bulgarian into Turkish universities will not be approved, and the documents already submitted for legalization will be put on hold.
Turkey is voicing suspicions that Turkish students are paying and forging their way through Bulgarian universities without acquiring the respective skills and competences.
As the suspicions echo around the world, the crisis management strategy of Bulgaria's Education Ministry has included two steps: 1) play "uninformed" for as long as possible and 2) when no longer possible, vow checks, inspections, experts' analyses, etc.
While Turkey is spreading the word about Bulgaria being the land of fake diplomas, the institutions in charge are twiddling their thumbs, daring no more than half-hearted interviews for morning broadcasts.
Bulgarian universities are educating some 6000-10 000 Turkish students, according to unofficial reports, with all of them paying several times the fees paid by locals.
However, the major blow will not be a financial one.
If Bulgaria cannot prove it is providing education which is up to international standards, it may as well forget about the much-anticipated lifting of labor restrictions.
Why would any labor market need an unqualified employee?
Why would foreign companies come to do business in Bulgaria if they cannot hire competent staff?
Perhaps Turkey's "No offence, but your education is a fraud" should not get "None taken" as a response. For the sake of all people studying at the country's 51 universities, who do not wish to be seen as criminals by default, just because of the state's passivity.