Spiru Haret University
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (June 2011)|
|President:||Aurelian Gh. Bondrea|
|Rector:||Aurelian A. Bondrea|
The Spiru Haret University is a private university in Bucharest, Romania, founded in 1991 by the president of Tomorrow's Romania Foundation, Aurelian Gh. Bondrea, as part of the teaching activities of this foundation. The university claims this has been done according to the model used by Harvard University. The university bears the name of a scientist and reformer of the Romanian education, Spiru Haret, who lived before the Great War.
On February 14, 2000, the university was accredited by the National Council of Academic Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions. The establishment of the university was confirmed by Law no. 443 of July 5, 2002 and this law has not been abolished.
According to the data published by the university in July 2010, it has 30 faculties, with 49 specializations and 64 master's degree curricula, being according to the newspaper Financiarul the largest university in Romania. In 2009 enrollment was reported as 311,928 students. Referring to the number of its students, the newspaper mistakenly called it the largest university in the world. It is the second-largest private university in the world, after Islamic Azad University (with 1.3 million students).
In 2011, the Spiru Haret University was officially evaluated as an "education-centered university", which is the third and lowest educational quality category of the Romanian universities. Education centered universities have lost the right of organizing new Master's and doctorate degrees studies.
Many of the Spiru Haret University graduates became successful in the fields of law, education, architecture, banking and business. Most of the Romanian teachers, teaching in both private and public schools and one third of the registered lawyers in Romania are graduates of Spiru Haret University.
Faculties and departments
Department for Teachers' Training
Spiru Haret University is a member of the following European and international organizations:
Alliance of Central-Eastern European Universities (ACEU) - 2009
European Association for ERASMUS Coordinators (EAEC) - 2011
European Association of Career Guidance (EACG) - 2011
Alliance of Universities for Democracy (AUDEM), Tennessee - 1993
Magna Charta Universitatum, Bologna, Signatory party - 2005
Magna Charta Observatory - 2005
European University Association (EUA) - Associate Member - 2005
Balkan Forum for Communication - Founding Member - 2005
Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) - 2006
European Confederation of Language Centres in Higher Education (CercleS) - 2006
European Association for Architectural Education (EAAE) - 2008
International Association of Universities (IAU) - 2008
The events described in this article (and other similar events, concerning other private Romanian universities such as Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University) demand the question of the privatization of the higher education, which has been answered in two contradictory ways:
- the first, that of the promoters of such establishments, affirms that they want to enforce the "rule of excellence" following the Harvard University model and claiming that they are the victims of "bureaucratic difficulties" and "judicial stubbornness";
- the second, the viewpoint of the critics, see them as "pseudo-academic gas plants" meant for making their shareholders and promoters rich through compromising the quality of the higher education, the equality in respect to the right to study and by having despise for the law.
Here are the details of these events:
Although it received accreditation from Romania's National Council of Academic Evaluation in 2002, step by step its accreditations were canceled for a large number of distance learning specializations. Also, there are some voices which dispute the level of the distance learning programs offered. The scandal peaked in the summer of 2009, when the way license diplomas are obtained scandalized the Minister of Education, who threatened with an inquiry of the Romanian public prosecutors.
A number of Romanian newspapers have called the Spiru Haret University "a diploma mill" (literally translated, "a diplomas factory"). This viewpoint has been confirmed by the Austrian Der Standard and by the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung. The German Consulate in Romania (Timişoara) mentioned worries in respect to the legal situation of the university in its press review. The French journal Le Monde has confirmed the viewpoint of the quoted newspapers. Some English language sources (e.g. from the Romanian newspaper Evenimentul Zilei and Radio Romania International) express the same view. Therefore, the Spiru Haret University is increasingly considered in Romania and outside it as a diploma mill. Its lawyers seek to circumvent Romanian education laws, and this implied the consequence that new laws are discussed by the Romanian Department of Education, Research and Innovation, which may lead to the prohibition of all Spiru Haret's activities.
According to an IPSnews article the Spiru Haret University claims to be accredited by the European University Association (EUA) instead of the Romanian public agency ARACIS. This claim is confirmed by the website of the university. However, as an e-mail received from EUA shows, EUA does not accredit universities and its "evaluations are not related to accreditation or certification processes." This viewpoint is confirmed by an IEP report: "the Programme is neither linked to the allocation of funds nor to a control function on behalf of public authorities."
The Spiru Haret University has been prohibited to organize license (diploma) exams for a period of three years. During these three years, Spiru Haret University has been placed under the scrutiny of the Romanian Department of Education. According to Government Decision no. 749/2009, the Bucharest Appeals Court, 8th Section of Administrative and Fiscal Litigation, in the Civil Law Sentence no. 3326 has radiated the Spiru Haret University, at its own request, from the application of Government Decision no. 676/2007 regarding the license university study fields, the structures of higher education institutions and the disciplines organized by them, with the subsequent additions and from Government Decision no. 635/2008 regarding the structures of higher education and the specialization/curricula for university license studies organized by them, either accredited or temporarily authorized to operate, republished. This means that the Spiru Haret University has been placed outside the accreditation and authorization process, which is mandated by law. The students enlisted at accredited/authorized faculties from the Spiru Haret University may still proceed with their study, but will have to take (final) diploma exams at recognized universities (faculties) which are not prohibited to hold diploma exams.
The Romanian Department of Education has permanently won the case against the claims of the Spiru Haret University in respect to Government Decisions no. 676/2007 and no. 635/2008, as the High Court of Cassation and Justice decided on October 30, 2009. As such, the self-removal the university from the application of such decisions is null and void, therefore its authorized/accredited curricula remain authorized/accredited, but all other claims of broader accreditation made in the name operating according to its constitutional right to academic autonomy have been dropped, since this right may only be exercised as provided by law. The Director of the Law and Control Direction of the Romanian Department of Education, Mr. Gabriel Ispas claimed that "Since we have won this trial, we cannot lose the subsequent trials."
The Government Decision no. 749/2009 has been reconsidered in Government Decision no. 943/2009. On November 10, 2009, at the Bucharest Appeal Court was registered at its office of the clerk the certificate in the Dossier no. 7174/2/2009, suspending the application of the Government Decisions no. 749/2009 and no. 943/2009 at the request of the Spiru Haret University, until judgment was pronounced in this case. The university called for being paid damages by the Romanian government and personally by the clerks who wrote the Government Decision no. 749/2009. In this trial, the significant difference in respect to the previous High Court trial is that the government did not list the Spiru Haret University in the Government Decision no. 749/2009, considering that this university does not want to be listed therein (according to the verdict of the Bucharest Court of Appeal which was canceled after the publication of the Government Decisions no. 749/2009), and listed it again in Government Decision no. 943/2009, when reconsidering Government Decision no. 749/2009, as demanded by the university, which has won a trial in this respect. Such government decisions are the official lists of all accredited/authorized Romanian curricula in a certain year. No other curriculum than those listed therein may issue a license diploma, and no other curriculum counts as higher education study (legally).
The Bucharest Court of Appeal reached a verdict on June 29, 2010 about the Government Decisions no. 749/2009 and no. 943/2009. The verdict of the Bucharest Court of Appeal rejects the action of the university because of having no ground and admits the request for intervention made by the Department of Education. Even if the Department of Education could not have predicted the verdict, the Romanian High Court of Justice and Cassation had registered the recourse made by the Romanian Department of Education in respect to the decision of the Bucharest Court of Appeal in the same dossier while its trial was still pending. Although the Department of Education has not fully lost the case judged by Bucharest Court of Appeal, it made recourse to the High Court and the university had there an opportunity to ask for the cancellation of the verdict of the Bucharest Court of Appeal by the High Court of Cassation and Justice. The Department of Education has won this trial, Decision no. 5565/14.12.2010 the High Court rejecting the request for suspending the execution of the administrative decision which the university has tried to cancel.
Also, this university is involved in administrative litigation against the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ARACIS), the verdict having been pronounced on July 1, 2010. In this case also the action of the university was rejected because of having no ground; recourse is possible. The university has claimed that Government Ordinance no. 10/2009 would be unconstitutional and the Bucharest Court of Appeal suspended judgment upon this issue until the Constitutional Court will take a decision in respect to the claimed exception of unconstitutionality. On December 16, 2010 the Constitutional Court has rejected the unconstitutionality exception invoked by the university. But, Government Ordinance no. 10/2009 has been abrogated by Law no. 1/2011. On May 17, 2011, the Bucharest Court of Appeal rejected the action of the university as inadmissible; a recourse is possible.
On June 17, 2010, the Minister Daniel Petru Funeriu signed the Department of Education Order no. 4235/2010, published in Monitorul Oficial no. 421 of June 23, 2010. This order concerns the approval of the methodology for the special monitoring of the “Spiru Haret” University, monitoring which applies three years after the Government Ordinance no. 10/2009 became effective. The order stipulates that Spiru Haret’s exams commissions for graduations have among their members professors/teachers from other universities, which are the representatives of the Romanian Department of Education in this respect. The commissions consist of at least one representative of the Department, the representatives of the Department being 50% of the total number of the members of each exams commission.
“The candidacy dossiers of 63 graduates of the "Spiru Haret" University were rejected by the Scholar Inspectorate Prahova” writes Raul Florea in the newspaper Gândul. The Minister Daniel Petru Funeriu announced that the university will be monitored for ten years, and the students which have received fraudulent diplomas will be reexamined.
A new scandal has arisen since the university has renamed its distance learning as “technological centers for accessing the examination platform e-learning”, in order to hide the fact that it cannot offer authorized/accredited distance learning.
The university has announced that the 2008 and 2009 graduates of its unauthorized and unaccredited curricula will have to repeat the diploma exam in September 2010, at the same university. Mr. Gabriel Ispas has declared on behalf of the Department of Education that this does not imply that their diplomas will be lawfully recognized. According to the minister, an exams session was approved in September in order that the students may have their license exams in accordance with Government Ordinance no. 10/2009 and to the norms for special supervision of the “Spiru Haret” University. But there is no legal proviso which would allow the graduates to take their license exams again, Government Ordinance no. 10/2009 making reference only to the students of this university, thus it makes no reference to its licensed graduates. According to the Address of the Department of Education no. 13265 August 6, 2010, Law no. 84/1995 makes a clear distinction between “graduate” and “graduate with a diploma”, the address of the department being applicable only of “graduates”. Through this address the conditions for lawfully organizing an exams session for “graduates” are made known to the university. This exams session was postponed sine die, since the "Spiru Haret" University did not agree with the conditions stipulated by the Department of Education for holding these exams.
A graduate of this university has obtained the right to enjoy the benefits of her diploma by the irrevocable decision of the High Court of Cassation and Justice. It is to be noticed that the High Court did not recognize the validity of her diploma, but only the fact that her diploma has not been canceled by a court of law, and until such thing would happen, Mrs./Ms. Din enjoys the presumption of the legality of her diploma. The annulment of her diploma is possible, but it would require another trial.
According to the newspaper Adevărul, several groups of graduates from the Spiru Haret University have organized themselves in order to sue the Department of Education. The personal advisor of the education minister, Mr. Tudorel Urian, said "We wish them good luck, but this is a problem of those who allowed such exam to take place, it is a problem of the university".
Art. 120 the Education Law which will has become applicable in 2011 provides that offering diplomas for higher education curricula which are neither accredited nor temporarily authorized (by ARACIS) constitutes the felony of material falsification of official documents, punished according to the penal law. Happily, the law provides only for the future.
The Minister Daniel Petru Funeriu has declared that the Spiru Haret University will become illegal. "The new law provides very clearly what happens in such situations: the institution of higher education which has unaccredited curricula automatically becomes illegal and enters into liquidation" said Funeriu for Bună Ziua Iași, showing that this is of application for any university with unaccredited curricula, not just for the Spiru Haret University. On February 10, 2011 have to have been stopped any specializations and curricula which are neither accredited nor temporarily authorized, according to Art. 361 paragraph 4 of the Law of National Education. The continuation of such curricula causes the liquidation of the university and the criminal responsibility for those guilty of breaking the law.
A graduate of the Spiru Haret University has won a trial against the Department of Education and the County Schools Inspectorate at the Buzău Court. Such decision is not final, being open to a recourse by the Department and/or the Inspectorate.
Ziare.com announces that some students who graduated this university in 2009 will finally receive their diplomas (but only some of them, namely those from authorized/accredited studies and frequency forms).
Through the Decision no. 666 from August 19, 2010, the Superior Council of the Magistrates has noticed that a graduate of the Spiru Haret University who graduated the license exam in law in February 2010 at this university does not have the legal quality of having a license in law, as provided by Art. 14 alin. 2 letter b) of Law no. 303/2004, as such being inadmissible to the National Institute of the Magistrates.
According to the newspaper Gândul, the situation of those who graduated unaccredited and unauthorized studies will be decided in September, following a project drawn up by ARACIS and consulting the National Rectors's Council. Funeriu recognized that it applies to several universities and that his department does not have the right to cancel diplomas. In December 2011 the minister has declared that his department prepares an order in order to solve the matter of the graduates of unaccredited and unauthorized studies, but it has to wait for advice from the NRC. The minister hopes that this order will become applicable as soon as possible.
Problem solved in 2015
Government Ordinance no. 42/2015 regarding the right of graduates to have recognized study papers after finishing unauthorized studies and for punishing educational institution which teach without authorization provides state recognition for all unauthorized studies from accredited educational institutions, prior to the study year 2011-2012. Such diplomas can be canceled by courts or by the granting institution, according to the law.
- Universitatea „Spiru Haret” are un nou rector Ziarul Național.
- Lista profesorilor de la "Spiru Haret" care au obtinut ilegal gradul universitar Ziare.com, July 23, 2009.
- Universitatea Spiru Haret. "Prezentarea Universitatii". Universitatea Spiru Haret. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
- Legea nr. 443/2002 (see also Decree no. 611/July 4, 2002).
- Cum a ajuns “Spiru Haret” cea mai mare universitate din lume Financiarul, July 13, 2009.
- Raul Florea, Clasificarea universităţilor. Vezi aici ce universităţi vor fi axate pe licenţă, masterat şi doctorat Gândul, September 6, 2011.
- Cristina Șomănescu Topul celor mai mari scandaluri din universități Money.ro, July 19, 2011.
- Parlamentarii ţin în braţe fabrica de diplome „Spiru Haret“ Adevarul, February 24, 2010.
- Fabrica de diplome nule „Spiru Haret“ iese şi la export Cotidianul, July 15, 2009.
- Spiru Haret, fabrica de profesori, nu doar de diplome Ziarul Financiar, July 21, 2009.
- Fabrica de diplome Spiru Haret Ziarul de Iasi, July 20, 2009.
- Universitatea „Spiru Haret” Arad a ajuns fabrică de diplome universitare Ziua de Vest, August 9, 2009.
- “Fabrica” de diplome “Spiru Haret” lasă studenţii cu ochii-n soare Financiarul, July 10, 2009.
- "Diplomfabrik" droht Schließung Der Standard, July 22, 2009.
- Gelehrte ab Fliessband Neue Zürcher Zeitung, October 1, 2009.
- Le système de l'enseignement supérieur roumain mis en cause par un scandale Le Monde, August 16, 2009.
- Ministry of Education should take action against private university Eurotopics, July 27, 2009.
- 100,000 Diplomas Annulled World Education Services, September 2009.
- ROMANIA: Diplomas of private university illegal University World News, July 19, 2009.
- Diplomas of private university grads stamped as illegal Evenimentul Zilei, July 15, 2009.
- A STEP BACK IN THE SPIRU HARET CASE Radio Romania International, July 22, 2009.
- Sesizarea la Parchet poate declansa desfiintarea Universitatii "Spiru Haret" România Liberă, July 23, 2009.
- Presseauswertung 13. - 19. Juli 2009 Konsulat der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Temeswar.
- Presseauswertung 10. - 16. August 2009 Konsulat der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Temeswar.
- EDUCATION: Not This Romanian Way IPSnews, July 21, 2009.
- Domnului MARIUS NIŢU open letter by Aurelian Gh. Bondrea, rector and president of the Spiru Haret University, September 4, 2008.
- Answer from EUA March 18, 2010.
- 10 YEARS ON: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE INSTITUTIONAL EVALUATION PROGRAMME by Dr. Stefanie Hofmann, IEP, 2005, p. 9. See also the text box on p. 8.
- „Spiru Haret”, trei ani fără examen de licenţă Evenimentul Zilei, August 11, 2009.
- Government Ordinance no. 10/2009 Monitorul Oficial, Part I, no. 581 of August 20, 2009.
- Monitorul Oficial, no. 465, year 177 (XXI) of Monday July 6, 2009, p. 86 (Monitorul Oficial is the state newspaper wherein laws and government decisions have to be officially published in order to become effective.)
- Cf. Punct de vedere July 20, 2009. Aracis.ro. (ARACIS is the Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, mandated by law to evaluate universities.)
- Decizie definitiva pentru Ministerul Educatiei in procesul cu "Spiru Haret" 30 October 2009.
- Dosar 4329/1/2009 Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice.
- Cf. the viewpoint of Mrs. Andronescu, then Minister of Education, discussing the issue debated in courts at Vezi ce a spus Ecaterina Andronescu la videochat despre Univ. Spiru Haret ProTV.
- Ministerul Educaţiei a câştigat procesul cu “Spiru”. “Absolvenţii de la ID nu vor beneficia de diplome” Gândul, October 29, 2009.
- HG 943/2009 privind modificarea si completarea HG nr. 749/2009 pentru aprobarea Nomenclatorului domeniilor, a structurilor institutiilor de invatamant superior si a specializarilor/programelor de studii universitare de licenta acreditate sau autorizate sa functioneze provizoriu organizate de acestea. Hotarare nr. 943/2009.
- HG nr. 943/2009 - modificarea HG nr. 749/2009 - aprobarea Nomenclatorului domeniilor, a structurilor institutiilor de invatamant superior si a specializarilor/programelor de studii universitare de licenta acreditate sau autorizate, 30. UNIVERSITATEA «SPIRU HARET» DIN BUCUREŞTI.
- Certificat de grefă November 10, 2009.
- Dosar 7174/2/2009, Curtea de Apel București.
- Dosar 6631/2/2009 Bucharest Court of Appeal.
- Dosar 6631/2/2009 Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice.
- Fișă dosar 7174/2/2009 Înalta Curte de Casație și Justiție a României.
- Dosar 3835/2/2009 Curtea de Apel Bucureşti.
- Către: CAMERA DEPUTAŢILOR by Aurelian Gh. Bondrea, rector and president of the Spiru Haret University, November 30, 2009.
- Dosar 8214/2/2009 Curtea de Apel Bucureşti.
- Curtea Constitutionala. Decizia 1646 din 16 decembrie 2010 (Decizia 1646/2010)
- Cătălin Croitoru (PDL): Legea educației a făcut un serviciu Universității Spiru Haret
- Deputat PDL: Legea educației a spălat pe furiș Universitatea Spiru Haret Adevărul, January 25, 2011.
- Ordinul MECTS nr. 4.235/2010 - aprobarea Metodologiei privind monitorizarea speciala a Universitatii "Spiru Haret" din Bucuresti Avocatnet.ro.
- Raul Florea 63 de absolvenţi ai “Spiru Haret”, întorşi din drum la titularizare Gândul, July 11, 2010.
- Funeriu: „Universitatea Spiru Haret va intra în legalitate" Cotidianul, July 7, 2010.
- Funeriu: Studenții de la Spiru Haret cu diplome neacreditate vor mai da o dată examenele Realitatea.net, July 13, 2010.
- Andreea Ofițeru Cum au ascuns cei de la Spiru Haret că învâțământul ID nu este acreditat Adevărul, July 12, 2010.
- Comunicat Spiru Haret August 4, 2010.
- Adriana Ailincei Absolvenții "Spiru Haret" trebuie să dea încă o dată licența, spun reprezentații instituției Realitatea.net, August 4, 2010.
- G. Buruian, N. Vieru Absolvenții de la Spiru Haret dau degeaba licența în septembrie Realitatea.net, August 5, 2010.
- Funeriu: Spiru Haret va putea organiza examen de licență la toamnă sub monitorizarea ministerului Realitatea.net, August 6, 2010.
- Adresa MECTS nr. 13265 of August 6, 2010.
- Art. 60 alin (5) and Art. 67 alin. (3) and (4) of Law no. 84/1995.
- Ileana Popescu Licența din septembrie de la Spiru Haret a fost suspendată Realitatea.net, September 9, 2010.
- O absolventă "Spiru Haret" a câștigat în instanță valabilitatea licenței Adevărul, August 11, 2010.
- Bomba la ”Spiru Haret”: Inalta Curte a statuat ca diplomele de licenta nu pot fi anulate de minister, ci doar de instanta de judecata (Document) Lumea Justiției, August 8, 2010.
- Simona Soare Absolvenți ai „Spiru Haret“ dau în judecată Ministerul Educației Adevărul, October 26, 2010.
- LEGEA EDUCAȚIEI NAȚIONALE transmisă Parlamentului României în vederea angajării răspunderii.
- Băsescu a promulgat Legea educației
- Art.15 alin.2 of the Romanian Constitution.
- Valentin Huțanu Prezent la Iasi, Ministrul Educatiei spune ca Universitatea Spiru Haret va fi scoasa in afara legii Bună Ziua Iași, January 8, 2011.
- Asociația EDU CER Prevederile Legii Educatiei Nationale vor fi aplicabile din 10 februarie Campusnews.ro
- Monitorul Oficial, anul 179 (XXIII) nr. 18/luni 10 ianuarie 2011
- O absolventă a Universității Spiru Haret a câștigat un proces intentat Ministerului Educației și Inspectoratului Școlar Județean
- Spiru Haret intra in legalitate: Absolventii din 2009 isi primesc diplomele de licenta Ziare.com, March 7, 2011
- Consiliul Superior al Magistraturii. Plenul. Hotărâre nr. 666 din 19 august 2010
- Aurelia Alexa, Situația celor care au absolvit programe neautorizate la "Spiru Haret", decisă în septembrie Gândul, July 7, 2011.
- Raul Florea Ministerul Educației pregătește un ordin pentru absolvenții Universității „Spiru Haret”. Funeriu: „Procedurile se desfășoară deja pentru a fi în legalitate”, Gândul, December 13, 2011.
- Monitorul Oficial, Partea I, nr. 659 din 31 august 2015.