It looks like I took a bullet for the team. That quarter-page ad for a college that guaranteed an MA degree in two years was a cunning Gazeta Wyborcza hoax. They say the interest generated by the ad was enormous, with people from all corners of Poland. I’m not exactly sure what GW thinks this proves. That employers have an obsession with certificates and papers (supposedly a thing of the communist past)? But everyone knew about that. It seems strange that GW, such an outward looking, western-orientated newspaper, needed to enlist the help of half of Poland to find out about the existence of qualification inflation, which has been known about for years in the West. If they can’t read English in there, well any young Pole looking for work could have told them about it. In fact, Gazeta Wyborcza itself carried a story about how Poznań was looking for a public toilet manager with a university education and several years’ experience.
Saturday’s paper prints reader reactions to the big campaign and it is fair to say that this battle the newspaper decisively lost. One student, for example, wonders why she is supposed to feel ashamed or inferior for writing her MA thesis (on Warsaw) in Polish. Enough. No doubt the war on free education will be won with or without the GW’s fifth column.