50 euros for a better grade, 800 euros for a passed exam: An employee of the University of Duisburg-Essen must now leave the university because of corruption allegations, the university wants to change the examination procedure.
The University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) has separated from an employee because of possible corruption in the awarding of grades. Numerous graduates of the university are threatened with the revocation of their degrees.
The ex-administrator at the Faculty of Economics is alleged to have raised grades for at least four years when entering them into the computer system and received money for doing so. In this way, even candidates who had actually failed were given a “pass” mark, said university spokesman Thomas Wittek. Previously, the “Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung” had reported on the case.
According to the report, 160 cases and almost 50 current or former students are involved, some of which were searched by the public prosecutor’s office. The ex-employee is said to have collected 800 euros for an exam that was wrongly graded as a pass, and 50 euros per 0.3 points for a higher grade.
A spokesman for the Essen public prosecutor’s office confirmed investigations into allegations of corruption and possible irregularities in the awarding of grades at the university. The starting point was a criminal complaint filed by the university itself.
The examination regulations leave little leeway for revoking the degree in the case of “bought grades,” said university spokesman Wittek. But for the time being, the matter is a case for the public prosecutor’s office.
No deviations at other faculties
At the beginning of the year, the university received an anonymous complaint about incorrectly entered grades, the spokesperson said. After extensive internal investigations, the university then filed charges. Apparently, the case was limited to the one ex-employee. Random checks of several tens of thousands of exams, including in other faculties, had not revealed any further discrepancies, the university spokesman said.
Until now, the grades were noted down on paper by the examiners and later transferred to the computer system in the administration, Mr. Wittek said. But that will be changed in the future. According to the University of Duisburg-Essen, around 120,000 exams are held each semester.