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UNIVERSITY

Three expelled in university scam

Gothenburg University has expelled three students after they were caught falsifying their exam entry grades. The students were taking courses in medicine, law and dentistry, reports Spionen, the university affiliated newspaper.

Three expelled in university scam
A file photo of a lecture at Gothenburg University

Mats Edvarsson, manager of the Gothenburg University student department said.

“It is serious in the sense that these are highly sought after classes. They have actually taken a place from someone else,” he told the newspaper.

The expulsions were part of a wider investigation into the growing number of faked qualifications that have been reported to the police over the past three years.

This particular case came to light during the fall when VHS, (Verket för högskoleservice) Sweden’s higher education authority, investigated suspicious application forms from several students for various continuing education programmes. The forms, from a high school for adults, were apparently badly filled in with easily identifiable faked signatures.

A pattern soon emerged and over 40 falsified documents were traced back to the same high school in Gothenburg, all of which had claimed they had attended the Åso Adult Gymnasium in Stockholm. On closer inspection it became clear that most of the students had never actually attended the school.

“The indications were, that the grades were falsified and we discovered that the school in question had not handed out the certifiactes. How they actually managed to get their papers is a matter for the police,” said Tuula Kuosmanen, manager for admissions at VHS, told

Spionen

The rise in the number of cases of falsifying grades reported to the police over recent years seems to point to a growing problem. In 2010, 83 cases were reported, compared with 46 in 2009 and 19 the year before.

Britt-Marie Johansson, principal at Åsö High School, denied any involvement on the part of the school itself.

”We have no idea what this is about. There have been falsified documents arising from the school in the past, but never to this extent. Most of the students involved in this case have not been at the school.”

Falsifying university entrance applications carries a maximum two-year prison sentence.

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UNIVERSITY

Swedish university exam unlikely to go ahead at all this year

It is looking increasingly unlikely that 'högskoleprovet' – an exam used by thousands of students every year as a way to enter Swedish university will go ahead – despite a government U-turn.

Swedish university exam unlikely to go ahead at all this year
In a normal year, 100,000 students sit what is known as the SweSAT or 'högskoleprovet'. Photo: Malin Hoelstad/SvD/SCANPIX

The Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (SweSAT, or högskoleprovet) is normally held twice a year, but was cancelled in spring and then later in autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic. But after pressure from opposition parties, the government last week said it would pave the way for the test to take place on its usual date in October in a limited format, open only to people who had not previously sat it.

Usually around 100,000 people sit the exam each year, around 40 percent of them doing so for the first time. The exam is not compulsory, but many people use its results to get into university, and it is seen as a crucial second chance for those who are not able to get accepted based on grades alone.

But any hope lit by the government's announcement last week was quickly extinguished this week, when university principals said it would still not be possible to organise a coronavirus-safe sitting. In the end it is up to the exam organisers to decide whether or not to hold it, so the government holds limited sway.

“They [the university principals] do not want to take responsibility for conducting the exam during the autumn, but would rather spend time and resources on conducting two tests as safely as possible in spring,” Karin Röding, director-general of the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR), told the TT news agency on Tuesday.

“I have no reason to have another opinion,” she added.

“It appears to be the case that you are going to have to wait another few months before an exam can be carried out in an infection-safe way,” confirmed Sweden's Minister of Higher Education, Matilda Ernkrans.

Meanwhile the political pressure eased on the Social Democrat-Green coalition government to ensure the test could be held before the deadline for applying to the spring semester of university, when the Liberal party joined the centre-left in voting no to pushing for an autumn sitting. Last week there was a majority for a yes vote on the Swedish parliament's education committee, consisting of right-wing parties Moderates, Christian Democrats, Sweden Democrats and the Liberals, but after the latter switched sides the committee voted no.

The Mdoerates blamed the government for not acting sooner to help the exam go ahead, by for example allocating more money and investigating the possibility of using more venues.

“There is one person who is to blame. That's Matilda Ernkrans,” said the party's education spokesperson Kristina Axén Olin. “The government has handled it really poorly and now it is thought to be too late and impossible.”

Ernkrans argued that she and the government had done everything they could, including making sure that test results from previous years will be valid for eight years rather than the usual five, as well as allocating extra funding to make it possible to hold more than one exam next spring.

Swedish vocabulary

cancel – ställa in

test/exam – (ett) prov

second chance – (en) andra chans

government – (en) regering

semester – (en) termin (note the false friend – the Swedish word semester means holiday)

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