German education minister stripped of doctorate for plagiarism

Annette

Germany's Education minister Annette Schavan has been stripped off her doctorate title after an inquiry confirmed plagiarism in her thesis, which she wrote 33 years ago.

Schavan, 57, is the second prominent member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet to lose a doctorate following allegations of plagiarism in their doctoral thesis.

The Heinrich-Heine University in Duesseldorf said last night that a special committee of its Philosophy Faculty came to the conclusion after more than nine months' investigations that she had "deliberately and systematically" lifted passages from other publications for her dissertation without acknowledging them properly.

Therefore, the university decided to declare her 351-page thesis on "person and conscience" as invalid and to revoke her degree, Dean of the Philosophy Faculty, Prof Bruno Bleckmann said in a statement.

There was no immediate reaction from Schavan to the university's decision to revoke her doctorate title, but her lawyer said in a statement that she intends to challenge it in a court. The minister is currently on a visit to South Africa.

Since the allegations against Schavan were first raised by plagiarism-hunters on the internet in April, 2012, She has always denied them, insisting she is fully convinced that she had done her doctoral thesis "to the best of her knowledge and

conscience."

Prof Bleckmann said the "frequency and construction" of the texts taken by Schavan from other publications and her failure to mention them in footnotes or in an index strengthened the views of the committee members that as a doctoral student, she had "systematically and deliberately" included passages, which in reality were not her own work.

The evidences against Schavan were so convincing that the Philosophy Faculty decided it was unnecessary to conduct another investigation by a group of experts from outside the university, Prof Bleckmann said.

Among the 14 members of the committee, 12 voted for stripping off the minister's doctorate title, he said.

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