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The Ombudsperson: Stop discriminating against professors’ relatives in applying for a doctorate

Apr 7, 2021

The Ombudsperson, pursuant to his constitutional and legal functions, has published Recommendations Report relating to the complaints submitted by complainants pertaining to the discrimination for admission of candidates for PhD studies in academic year 2020/2021 at the University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina”.

Given Recommendations Report aims to draw attention of the University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina” with regard to the criteria provided by the UP in the competition for admission of candidates for PhD studies for the academic year 2020/2021, of 9 September 2020, with Prot. no.2  /  262,  specifically  point  13,  which defines  “Candidates  are  subject  to the   principle  of prohibition of conflict of interest according to the legislation in effect, the Code of Ethics and the Guideline for Preventing Conflict of Interest of the UP Ethics Council. In particular, it will be deemed that there is a conflict of interest if candidate has a kin relationship with one or more members of the academic staff of the respective academic unit.”

Ombudsperson, in accordance with Article 16.1 of Law no.05 / L-019 on Ombudsperson, on 6 November 2020, via  e-mail,  received complaints of the  following complainants: Mr. Vegim Vula, Mrs. Zana Dragidella, C. No.645 / 2020, who have claimed to be candidates for PhD studies at the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry Program; as well as the complainant of Mr. Ardi Ahmeti, C.No.650 / 2020, who has claimed to be a candidate for PhD studies at the Faculty of Economics   (henceforward:  complainants),   filed   against   UP   regarding   discrimination   in   the public competition, advertised on 23 October 2020 , with Prot.No.2 / 262.

The Ombudsperson ascertains that point 13 of the Competition for PhD studies, of 23 October 2020, with Prot. No. 2 / 262, constitutes discrimination.

The   Ombudsperson   ascertains   that   the  complainants   in  the  given   case  are  PhD  candidates, children and relatives of professors at the Faculty of Economics and the Faculty of Medicine at UP, however they should be treated equally in relation to other candidates. Unequal treatment comprises a practice opposite to the concept of equality before the law, defined by Article 24 of the Constitution.

The  Ombudsperson finds that the UP has accurately, but belatedly, addressed the Anti- Corruption Agency, as responsible body for assessing the dilemma of conflict of interest.

The Ombudsperson, referring to the above-mentioned reasoning, in order to improve the work of the UP and with the aim to prevent further discrimination against complainants, recommends the University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina” to establish appropriate policies to prevent urgently any practice that presents unequal  treatment in the case of announcement of such  public competitions.

To annul the discriminatory criteria defined in point 13 of the Competition for PhD studies of UP, of 23 October 2020, with Prot. No.2 / 262, that: “Candidates are subject to the principle of prohibition of conflict of interest according to the legislation in effect, the Code of Ethics and the Guideline for Preventing Conflict of Interest of the UP Ethics Council. In particular, it will be deemed that there is a conflict of interest if candidate has a kin relationship with one or more members of the academic staff of the respective academic unit”.

UP in the future, similar dilemmas for assessment of conflict of interest, to address without delay to responsible institution for the assessment of conflict of interest – Anti-Corruption Agency, as a responsible body.

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