Montenegrin institutions must establish zero tolerance to plagiarisms

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) expresses concern regarding decision of the Basic State Prosecution (BSP) that there are no grounds for criminal prosecution of persons who have illegally taken a part of curriculum from colleagues from Croatia, thus continuing with a negative practice of (non)prosecution of plagiarism by the Prosecution, which neither contributes to the necessary improvement of quality of educational system in Montenegro, nor to the rule of law.

As a reminder, the Croatian mediahave firstly published in August this year an information that part of new Montenegrin curriculum has been copied from package of Croatian educational reform, which has not received political support for adoption in Croatia itself but was a publicly available material. This scandal has drawn attention of Croatian and Montenegrin public, as well as of broader regional one, and has indisputably and with a reason brought quite a negative publicity for Montenegrin educational institutions wherein all of this has passed.

Citizens of Montenegro themselves could also exercise an insight into both documents through media articles from Croatia and numerous from Montenegro, that have shown that those parts are identical, with slight language adaptations.

Bureau for Education Services has in numerous occasions addressed the public with statements through which they have admitted to having in large extent utilized Croatian curriculums, as well as to not stating it as one of sources in the final version. These mistakes are unacceptable also in seminar papers of students of any faculty, and thus precisely require the most severe sanction when they occur in official documents of educational institutions.

Position of Prosecution continues to support a climate of plagiarism development in Montenegro and annuls also the significant breakthroughs in educational framework made this summer via amendments to the Law on Higher Education and Criminal Code. On many occasions, CCE has publicly commended the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Justice for these breakthroughs in standardization of plagiarisms. Unfortunately, Prosecution continues with its practice to shatter not only its own credibility, but those of these ministries who have in this part made a positive breakthrough, as well as of the Parliament who has adopted these important amendments.

It is important to remind of plagiarism cases of Sanja Vlahovic and Milan Babovic that Basic State Prosecution (BSP) has also dismissed, which only a year later received a judgement of Commercial Court in the case of Babovic that clearly states that it is plagiarism. This only indicates that BSP either has no necessary knowledge to deal with this issue or it knowingly stands in protection of those violating the law by avoiding their prosecution.

CCE appeals to the Prosecution to start to contribute to enactment of a functional rule of law in Montenegro and to establish a zero tolerance to this kind of cases.

Mira Popovic, programme associate