FUNDING for colleges and universities for 2014 has been cut by €21.3 million, according to the 2014 state budget bill that Parliament approved last week. This is despite the fact that Education Minister Dušan Čaplovič said in August that it was his priority to secure more funding for high-quality study programmes at colleges and universities, the TASR newswire reported.

The cut in funding is because of the Finance Ministry's measures aimed at consolidating public finances for 2014-16, ministry spokesman Michal Kaliňák said as reported by TASR.

“The education minister cautioned the finance minister of the risks incurred by the measure (cut in funding),” Kaliňák said.

Council of Slovak Colleges and Universities Chairman Viktor Smieško noted that many institutions will even be short of the wherewithal to cover basic activities.

“This is truly depressing for us,” Smieško said as quoted by TASR. “All governments state in their manifestos that they support education, yet this is the outcome.”

In a situation in which universities are scratching a living from one day to the next, they can hardly expect to do better in global rankings, Smieško added, noting that Slovakia's spending on research is outmatched by neighbouring countries. Slovakia has been ranked second-to-last in the OECD's ranking, with only Mexico coming behind, he stated.

President of the Slovak Rectors Conference Libor Vozár was reluctant to speculate as to the impact of the budget cut on the day-to-day running of the institutions.

"We'll know more once all rectors analyse the situation," said Vozár as quoted by TASR.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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