Markež tendered her resignation to PM Miro Cerar the very same day when the Demokracija website revealed that Markež's master's degree thesis had a 37% overlap with a degree paper from another student written three years earlier. PM Cerar has accepted her resignation.
The governing SMC Party, whose member is Klavdija Markež, has reacted to the announcement. The party wrote that Markež sent her own master's thesis to be reviewed by the faculty on her own initiative, in order to establish the work's authenticity. The faculty responded that after the initial computer review, the thesis does match in certain parts with other sources. Her thesis will therefore be reviewed in detail.
The party explained that Markež got her master's degree in 2005, when authenticity computer checks were not yet common practice. Apart from that her thesis had already been verified long ago by her faculty and mentor Miha Pogačnik.
If it turns out that her thesis was indeed plagiarized, the party expects her to accept responsibility and withdraw from the SMC Party. Prior to assuming the ministerial post Markež served as an MP.
According to the head of the education trade union, Branimir Štrukelj, the issue is only the latest symptom of the condition Slovenia's higher education is in. "This kind of thing can happen in part-time study programs and private schools, where there is no adequate control," he warned. He added that the path to development "through commercialization and lower budget funding is bad, devastating and will have a destructive influence on the quality of our degrees."
A. Č., Al. Ma., MMC;
translated by K. J.