Award-winning Turkish teacher uses fake diploma for 19 years
ISTANBULA woman who received a teacher-of-the-year award in 2005 has been revealed to have worked the past 19 years with a fake diploma, daily Habertürk has reported.
The woman, R.G.S., started working as a teacher 19 years ago after presenting herself as a graduate of Ankara University’s Communications Faculty.
R.G.S.’ diploma was revealed to be fake after she was asked to resubmit her credentials. The woman’s brother sent the new document from a PTT branch in Ankara’s Dernekbaşı neighborhood to the local education directorate, but the head of the directorate determined that the diploma had fabricated upon closer inspection.
The teacher was detained after an investigation was opened into her. In her testimony, she said she was given the fake diploma from a man named İrfan in Ankara’s Sincan district 19 years ago.
“I started to work as a teacher in Erzurum. If I could complete 20 years as a teacher, I would deserve the right to retire. I’m so sorry and regretful. I did not damage the state. I worked so hard. I never sent in a medical report for a holiday. My registry is full of success. What will happen to my 19 years of efforts?” she said.
Mustafa İsaoğlu, the chief prosecutor, demanded a jail sentence of between two and seven years on charges of aggravated fraud and between two and five years on accusations that she forged official documents.
Meanwhile, the suspect’s husband, who is also a teacher, reportedly did not know his wife’s diploma was fabricated.
If found guilty, the woman will be forced to repay 329,000 Turkish Liras with interest to the state following 11 years of service in Trabzon.
The woman received a top award in 2005 from then-PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. She also received certificates of achievement and rewards from the Erzurum Governor’s Office in 1997.
The Education Ministry has determined 153 teachers who have been working with fake diplomas in an investigation that was accelerated after the July 15 coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, daily Habertürk has reported.
The Higher Education Board (YÖK) signed a protocol to examine the diplomas of 8 million university graduates across Turkey following the Education Ministry’s investigation.
Public institutes checked graduates’ details via an online database provided by YÖK. However, officials said they had difficulty investigating individuals who graduated before 2003-04, as citizen ID numbers were not included on university ID cards before this date. Nevertheless, the ministry managed to identify 153 teachers who have been using fake diplomas, dismissing them from their duties.