A total of 506 students were forced to leave Sweden’s 26 largest institutions of higher learning last year, according to a review of statistics by the TT news agency.
Linköping University in central Sweden had the highest number of expulsions, while the University of Gävle in eastern Sweden experienced the largest increase in expelled cheaters between 2009 and 2010.
In addition, Jönköping University in central Sweden expelled 16 students in 2010, double the figure from the previous year, TV4 reported earlier this month. The most frequent types of cheating reported were plagiarism of essays or final exams.
The findings prompted education minister Jan Björklund to suggest that Swedish college and universities need to tighten up their approach to cheating and review the penalties handed out to cheating students.
“I take cheating very seriously and won’t rule out the need to be tougher both in discoveries and punishments,” he told the TT news agency.
However, Björklund added that he wants to get a more complete picture of academic dishonesty at Sweden’s institutions of higher learning.
“This is serious enough that I’m going to ask university chancellors to review instances of cheating, how they deal with cheating today, and whether or not there is a need to be tougher and if there is reason for greater uniformity,” he said.
Björklund said he expected the request to be formalized later this spring.
He theorised that the increase in expulsions from cheating may be attributable to the introduction of more effective methods of uncovering academic fraud, including various digital search tools designed to unmask plagiarism.
TT’s statistics are drawn from information from colleges and universities that licenced to award bachelor and doctoral degrees.