COMPARED to the previous period, the number of full time university students in the 2003/2004 academic year stagnated and even saw a moderate decline; on the other hand, the number of external students increased again. This represents a continuation of the previous trend Education Ministry officials viewed negatively because the quality of external studies is lower compared to full-time studies.
Besides official higher education, 2004 saw further growth of the "grey education sphere" comprising especially external study programmes offered by Czech and other European universities in co-operation with domestic non-university educational institutions. The ministry also saw a significant increase in the number of registration applications filed by private universities.
The most important reform in higher education is the development of a model of financing that takes into account individual universities' scientific results and stimulates their research activities.
Public universities are increasingly exposed to the competition of private institutions - legal as well as "semi-legal". An answer to their problems could be the introduction of tuition fees, which has remained the Education Ministry's top priority despite repeated failures to gain support for the approval.
Source: Slovakia 2004: A Global Report on the State of Society
Institute for Public Affairs