Spiru Haret University

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Spiru Haret University
Established: 1991
Type: private university
City: Bucharest Country: Romania
President: Aurelian Gh. Bondrea
Rector: Aurelian A. Bondrea
Website: http://www.spiruharet.ro

The Spiru Haret University is a private university in Bucharest, Romania, founded in 1991<ref name=listaprofesorilor/> by the president of Tomorrow's Romania Foundation, Aurelian Gh. Bondrea, as part of the teaching activities of this foundation.<ref name=prezentare/> The university claims this has been done according to the model used by Harvard University.<ref name=prezentare/> The university bears the name of a scientist and reformer of the Romanian education, Spiru Haret,<ref name=prezentare/> 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 masters degree curricula,<ref name=prezentare>Template:Cite web</ref> being according to the newspaper Financiarul the largest university in Romania.<ref name="financiarul"/> In 2009 enrollment was reported as 311,928 students.<ref name=listaprofesorilor/> Referring to the number of its students, the newspaper mistakenly called it the largest university in the world.<ref name="financiarul"/> It is the second-largest private university in the world, after Islamic Azad University (with 1.3 million students).

Pope John Paul II and a former Romanian president, Ion Iliescu, have received honorary doctorates from the university.<ref name=prezentare/>

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.<ref name=florea>Raul Florea, Clasificarea universit??ilor. Vezi aici ce universit??i vor fi axate pe licen??, masterat ?i doctorat Gândul, September 6, 2011.</ref> Education centered universities have lost the right of organizing new Master's and doctorate degrees studies.<ref name=florea/>

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

Architecture

Arts

Law and Public Administration

Physical Education and Sport

Finance and Banking

Geography

Journalism, Communication and Public Relations Letters

Financial and Accounting Management

Marketing and International Business

Mathematics and Informatics

Veterinary Medicine

International Relations, History and Philosophy

Sociology-Psychology

Department for Teachers' Training

International cooperation

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

Criticism

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<ref name=prezentare/> 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.<ref name=somanescu>Cristina ?om?nescu Topul celor mai mari scandaluri din universit??i Money.ro, July 19, 2011.</ref>

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.<ref name=somanescu/> Also, there are some voices which dispute the level of the distance learning programs offered.<ref name="financiarul">Cum a ajuns “Spiru Haret” cea mai mare universitate din lume Financiarul, July 13, 2009.</ref><ref name=fab1/><ref name=fab2/><ref name=fab3/><ref name=fab4/><ref name=fab5/><ref name=fab6/><ref name=fab7/><ref name=fab8/><ref name=fab9/><ref name=fab10/><ref name=fab11/><ref name=fab12/><ref name=fab13/><ref name=fab14/> 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.<ref name=listaprofesorilor>Lista profesorilor de la "Spiru Haret" care au obtinut ilegal gradul universitar Ziare.com, July 23, 2009.</ref><ref name="ultimaora">Sesizarea la Parchet poate declansa desfiintarea Universitatii "Spiru Haret" România Liber?, July 23, 2009.</ref>

A number of Romanian newspapers have called the Spiru Haret University "a diploma mill" (literally translated, "a diplomas factory").<ref name=fab1>Parlamentarii ?in în bra?e fabrica de diplome „Spiru Haret“ Adevarul, February 24, 2010.</ref><ref name=fab2>Fabrica de diplome nule „Spiru Haret“ iese ?i la export Cotidianul, July 15, 2009.</ref><ref name=fab3>Spiru Haret, fabrica de profesori, nu doar de diplome Ziarul Financiar, July 21, 2009.</ref><ref name=fab4>Fabrica de diplome Spiru Haret Ziarul de Iasi, July 20, 2009.</ref><ref name=fab5>Universitatea „Spiru Haret” Arad a ajuns fabric? de diplome universitare Ziua de Vest, August 9, 2009.</ref><ref name=fab6>“Fabrica” de diplome “Spiru Haret” las? studen?ii cu ochii-n soare Financiarul, July 10, 2009.</ref> This viewpoint has been confirmed by the Austrian Der Standard<ref name=fab7>"Diplomfabrik" droht Schließung Der Standard, July 22, 2009.</ref> and by the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung.<ref name=fab8>Gelehrte ab Fliessband Neue Zürcher Zeitung, October 1, 2009.</ref> The German Consulate in Romania (Timi?oara) 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.<ref name=fab9>Le système de l'enseignement supérieur roumain mis en cause par un scandale Le Monde, August 16, 2009.</ref> Some English language sources (e.g. from the Romanian newspaper Evenimentul Zilei and Radio Romania International) express the same view.<ref name=fab10>Ministry of Education should take action against private university Eurotopics, July 27, 2009.</ref><ref name=fab11>100,000 Diplomas Annulled World Education Services, September 2009.</ref><ref name=fab12>ROMANIA: Diplomas of private university illegal University World News, July 19, 2009.</ref><ref name=fab13>Diplomas of private university grads stamped as illegal Evenimentul Zilei, July 15, 2009.</ref><ref name=fab14>A STEP BACK IN THE SPIRU HARET CASE Radio Romania International, July 22, 2009.</ref> Therefore, the Spiru Haret University is increasingly considered in Romania and outside it as a diploma mill.<ref name=fab1/><ref name=fab2/><ref name=fab3/><ref name=fab4/><ref name=fab5/><ref name=fab6/><ref name=fab7/><ref name=fab8/><ref name=fab9/><ref name=fab10/><ref name=fab11/><ref name=fab12/><ref name=fab13/><ref name=fab14/> 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.<ref name="ultimaora" />

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.<ref name="evenimentul">„Spiru Haret”, trei ani f?r? examen de licen?? Evenimentul Zilei, August 11, 2009.</ref> During these three years, Spiru Haret University has been placed under the scrutiny of the Romanian Department of Education.<ref name="evenimentul"/><ref name="og10_2009">Government Ordinance no. 10/2009 Monitorul Oficial, Part I, no. 581 of August 20, 2009.</ref> According to Government Decision no. 749/2009,<ref name="monitorul">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.)</ref> 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.<ref name="aracis">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.)</ref> 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.<ref name="evenimentul"/>

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.<ref name="highc2009">Decizie definitiva pentru Ministerul Educatiei in procesul cu "Spiru Haret" 30 October 2009.</ref> 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.<ref name="videochat">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.</ref> 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."<ref name="gandul">Ministerul Educa?iei a câ?tigat procesul cu “Spiru”. “Absolven?ii de la ID nu vor beneficia de diplome” Gândul, October 29, 2009.</ref>

The Government Decision no. 749/2009 has been reconsidered in Government Decision no. 943/2009.<ref name="hg943">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.</ref> 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.<ref name="grefa">Certificat de gref? November 10, 2009.</ref><ref name="dosar7174">Dosar 7174/2/2009, Curtea de Apel Bucure?ti.</ref> The university called for being paid damages by the Romanian government and personally by the clerks who wrote the Government Decision no. 749/2009.<ref name="grefa"/> 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<ref name="monitorul"/> which was canceled after the publication of the Government Decisions no. 749/2009),<ref name="gandul"/> 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.<ref name="dosar7174"/> 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.<ref name="highc2010"/> 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.<ref name="highc2010">Fi?? dosar 7174/2/2009 Înalta Curte de Casa?ie ?i Justi?ie a României.</ref>

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.<ref name="dosar3835">Dosar 3835/2/2009 Curtea de Apel Bucure?ti.</ref> In this case also the action of the university was rejected because of having no ground; recourse is possible.<ref name="dosar3835"/> 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.<ref name="dosar8214">Dosar 8214/2/2009 Curtea de Apel Bucure?ti.</ref> 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;<ref name="dosar8214"/> a recourse is possible.<ref name="dosar8214"/>

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.<ref name=ordin4235>Ordinul MECTS nr. 4.235/2010 - aprobarea Metodologiei privind monitorizarea speciala a Universitatii "Spiru Haret" din Bucuresti Avocatnet.ro.</ref> This order concerns the approval of the methodology for the special monitoring of the “Spiru Haret” University,<ref name=ordin4235/> monitoring which applies three years after the Government Ordinance no. 10/2009 became effective.<ref name=ordin4235/> 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.<ref name=ordin4235/> 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.<ref name=ordin4235/>

“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.<ref name=resustinere>Adriana Ailincei Absolven?ii "Spiru Haret" trebuie s? dea înc? o dat? licen?a, spun reprezenta?ii institu?iei Realitatea.net, August 4, 2010.</ref><ref name=realrelic>G. Buruian, N. Vieru Absolven?ii de la Spiru Haret dau degeaba licen?a în septembrie Realitatea.net, August 5, 2010.</ref> Mr. Gabriel Ispas has declared on behalf of the Department of Education that this does not imply that their diplomas will be lawfully recognized.<ref name=resustinere/><ref name=realrelic/> 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.<ref name=realsept>Funeriu: Spiru Haret va putea organiza examen de licen?? la toamn? sub monitorizarea ministerului Realitatea.net, August 6, 2010.</ref> 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.<ref name=realrelic/> According to the Address of the Department of Education no. 13265 August 6, 2010,<ref name=adresa>Adresa MECTS nr. 13265 of August 6, 2010.</ref> Law no. 84/1995<ref name=adresa/> 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.<ref name=adresa/> 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.<ref name=recunoscuta>O absolvent? "Spiru Haret" a câ?tigat în instan?? valabilitatea licen?ei Adev?rul, August 11, 2010.</ref><ref name=lumeaj>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 Justi?iei, August 8, 2010.</ref> 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.<ref name=lumeaj/> The annulment of her diploma is possible, but it would require another trial.<ref name=lumeaj/>

According to the newspaper Adev?rul, several groups of graduates from the Spiru Haret University have organized themselves in order to sue the Department of Education.<ref name=adevaruldeseara>Simona Soare Absolven?i ai „Spiru Haret“ dau în judecat? Ministerul Educa?iei Adev?rul, October 26, 2010.</ref> 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".<ref name=adevaruldeseara/>

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.<ref name=hutanu>Valentin Hu?anu Prezent la Iasi, Ministrul Educatiei spune ca Universitatea Spiru Haret va fi scoasa in afara legii Bun? Ziua Ia?i, January 8, 2011.</ref> "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 Bun? Ziua Ia?i, showing that this is of application for any university with unaccredited curricula, not just for the Spiru Haret University.<ref name=hutanu/> 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.<ref name=monitorul2011>Monitorul Oficial, anul 179 (XXIII) nr. 18/luni 10 ianuarie 2011</ref> The continuation of such curricula causes the liquidation of the university and the criminal responsibility for those guilty of breaking the law.<ref name=monitorul2011/>

A graduate of the Spiru Haret University has won a trial against the Department of Education and the County Schools Inspectorate at the Buz?u Court.<ref name=buzau>O absolvent? a Universit??ii Spiru Haret a câ?tigat un proces intentat Ministerului Educa?iei ?i Inspectoratului ?colar Jude?ean</ref> Such decision is not final, being open to a recourse by the Department and/or the Inspectorate.<ref name=buzau/>

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.<ref name=aurelia>Aurelia Alexa, Situa?ia celor care au absolvit programe neautorizate la "Spiru Haret", decis? în septembrie Gândul, July 7, 2011.</ref> Funeriu recognized that it applies to several universities and that his department does not have the right to cancel diplomas.<ref name=aurelia/> 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.<ref name=dec2011>Raul Florea Ministerul Educa?iei preg?te?te un ordin pentru absolven?ii Universit??ii „Spiru Haret”. Funeriu: „Procedurile se desf??oar? deja pentru a fi în legalitate”, Gândul, December 13, 2011.</ref> The minister hopes that this order will become applicable as soon as possible.<ref name=dec2011/>

Footnotes

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