Moscow university professors receive $50 million of bribes

Some professors may ask students to bring them something more practical

Moscow's department for struggle with economic crimes told the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, over 30 criminal cases were filed in the summer of the current year on the allegation of bribery in Moscow universities. The Office of the Public Prosecutor still reviews the materials - five or six other cases are likely to be filed in the beginning of September. “However, corruption is tens or hundreds times higher than it can be seen in reality,” a spokesperson for the department said.

Professors of Moscow's prestigious universities receive about $50million of bribes every year. Some professors may ask students to bring them something more practical that they find necessary at the moment – construction materials for a country-house, for example. They take boxes of French perfumes. On New Year's Eve, professors prefer to “order” expensive food and alcohol drinks.

Senior university professors - deans, heads of faculties – started taking bribes on a more frequent basis in 2004. It is not ruled out, though, law-enforcement officers have become more experienced to detect bribe-takers. It is impossible to eliminate this evil, but it is possible to diminish it. The department for struggle with economic crimes believes it will be possible to succeed at this point, if the punishment for such crimes would be inevitable. Criminals do not think about justice, when it goes about thousands of dollars.

A professor of one of Moscow prestigious university shared his thoughts about the situation in Russian high schools (the professor wished to remain anonymous). “The current admission practice is absolutely outdated. Let's assume a hundred people take an exam with me. I will meet only 50 of them – others have their marks already! Here is another example: two girls took an exam on maths. They brought the papers, in which they were supposed to put down the plan of their answers, but the papers were blank. They already had excellent marks for their previous written exam on maths. I was confused with the situation – the two students had everything prepared two days before the exam. I gave them a different sum to do, but they could not do anything. I gave them unsatisfactory marks. I had a very unpleasant conversation with the chairman of the examination committee afterwards. I can give another example. I once gave an unsatisfactory mark to a young man. I registered the documents, but he turned up in my office again two days later. He had new, blank documents with him. I did not pay any attention to it at all, but listened to his answer instead. It was very bad again. Two days later he came in again and put new blank papers on my desk. This time I took him to the committee chairman and said: “You know if I give him a bad mark right now, it will be a 'triple-bad mark!' Then it turned out that one of the examination committee members was the young man’s relative. A lot of students hire private tutors from universities to make their way there afterwards.

”One may keep examination cards in our universities, but examination committee members should not consist of university professors.  For example, a group of professors from a certain university can form a committee at a different high school without their knowledge of it. I know it is practiced so in England. A professor from Glasgow goes to a different university to take students' exams. I realize that one can not establish such system in one day.”

Specialists of the Ministry for Education and Science believe students continue bribing professors and university administration members after they pass their first exams. It means they do not want or can not study at high schools. They perceive a bribe as a way to avoid pre-examination hard studies. As a result, such students become very bad specialists when they graduate. Their diplomas do not mean anything, employers hire unqualified personnel, the state wastes money on education.

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Author`s name Olga Savka