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Estonia – a true wildland

The lecturers adventuring from the capitalist west to the early-capitalist Estonia had a quite a few chucklesome experiences.

Avo Meerits recalls: “They often had their prejudices with regard to Estonia, as if the country was a true wildland, with bears walking down the street. One of the lecturers once took a bankcard out of his pocket during a lecture. “This is a bankcard used in the west.” One of the students then responded: “So, should we show ours as well?” The entire class then took out their bankcards, since these were already quite popular in Estonia.”

Professor Olav Aarna recalls that the foreign lecturers arriving to Estonia were shocked the most by the ever-so-calm cheating and helping of other students. “In the United States, this is completely unthinkable, with a code of ethics established for students, and acknowledged by all students when admitted to the university. Cheating and plagiarism are among the greatest ethical violations,” Aarna emphasises. Nonetheless, it was the habit in all comprehensive schools as well as universities, and no one even bothered to conceal or analyse the matter.

According to Olav Aarna, IT tools now allow to analyse diploma papers with an anti-plagiarism software. “It is not only about plagiarism. We have now started paying more attention to ethical laxity. This attests to our ability to develop, both individually and collectively.”