“I don’t want the debate to be about something that happened ten years ago, I want it to focus on what’s happening today,” Littorin told news agency TT.
The revelation on Tuesday that Littorin’s MBA came from a degree mill has set off a media frenzy around the minister, one of the most high-profile in Fredrik Reinfeldt’s government.
The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education said it would not recognize a degree taken at Fairfax, and many US states list the institution as a degree mill or a diploma mill.
Littorin at first insisted that the MBA was valid and refused to remove it from his resume. This led to condemnation from opposition politicians, including former Social Democrat education minister Leif Pagrotsky, and government-supporting commentators in the media.
“I never had a reason to question my degree. I had a study plan and a tutor and I delivered what I was supposed to. I’m not ashamed in the slightest about by paper. But when the newspapers say that you’re a bluffer, then it takes its toll,” Littorin said on Thursday.
“If I had let it stay on my CV, the debate would be about that and nothing else. That’s not what I want to discuss; what I want to discuss is our falling levels of unemployment and social exclusion and increasing employment levels. That’s why I’m here,” he said.
Littorin insisted that he had removed references to the MBA without pressure from other members of the government or his party.