Editorial: «unbelievable ugliness» is apt

PHOTO: Urmas Nemvalts

Unbelievable ugliness – an assessment by University of Tartu rector Volli Kalm to Institute of Physics research fellow promising gymnasium gals altering of exam results in exchange for becoming his mistress. Naturally, the university will have to talk to the individual and gain needed insight. Still, one will have to agree to the rector’s initial reaction: behaving like this, a person may no longer work at the institution. 

Irrespective if the prosecutor’s office detects elements of criminal offence, ethical boundaries have been crossed anyhow. On top of that: not reacting to issues like this, core values of the university would come under question. Among other things, falsification of exam results is academic fraud. Even university is selling trust – that the grades and the diplomas awarded do justice to a person’s knowledge. People’s destinies are on the line, and at the end of the day the trust comes down to financial issues. True, in the case at hand the talk was about gymnasium state exam grades and, on the basis of information thus far available, the individual actually lacked access to relevant databases etc. Even so, even the offering of such fraud infringes values vital for a university.  

A university teaches the youth. In the Estonia in the now and in the future, it would be unimaginable indeed for a university to put up with an employee who offers lady students payment with sex for altering of grades or whatever. In the eyes of the law, university students and, in Estonia, most 12th graders are indeed adults; even so, putting a person in a weaker position before such choices is sheer ugliness – any organisation where anything of this sort happens will have to pass an explicit evaluation: this is unacceptable.

Whatever the Fred was thinking, the young souls he targeted were in a markedly weaker position. During graduation, 12th graders are under great pressure and tension – exam grades are important indeed. Even greater than real life, perhaps, are the imaginations of how much these impact one’s future life.  

And also: have we, as a society, perhaps created the atmosphere for young people to be willing to consider such proposals? In our imagination, it is a university only – not acquiring good professional skills in vocational training – that ensures a worthy and happy life. Just perhaps, the reality does differ: a person can be successful in a specialty corresponding to his abilities and willingness to labour. One will be happy with work one is good at – not with a certificate he managed to buy.

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