Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

BY PETER OLEKŠÁK

"The arrogance of power in the education sector"

The Education Ministry has revealed the principles by which it intends to amend the Universities Act, and to radically change the current balance of power in Slovak universities.
Henceforth, the government rather than parliament will issue permission for founding public universities. University senates will be composed of an "adequate" number of members from each faculty, rather than an "identical" number as under the current law, which could lead to dominance by a single faculty.

The Education Ministry has revealed the principles by which it intends to amend the Universities Act, and to radically change the current balance of power in Slovak universities.

Henceforth, the government rather than parliament will issue permission for founding public universities. University senates will be composed of an "adequate" number of members from each faculty, rather than an "identical" number as under the current law, which could lead to dominance by a single faculty. Furthermore, members of academic councils, vice-chancellors and vice-deans will not be appointed but only discussed by the academic senate. Naturally, in this situation chancellors and deans will choose their friends and close colleagues to fill these positions.

We should also be concerned by the proposal to increase the powers of the boards of trustees of universities, which were founded in 2002 to strengthen ties between universities and the public, and whose powers include approving basic university contracts (rental, sale, loan etc.). Henceforth, boards of trustees will also be able to nominate candidates for chancellor, and to veto chancellors elected by the academic senate. They will also be given the power to set the salary of the chancellor and approve the budget of the university.

These changes have not been accompanied by any evidence that the current system is faulty, but instead are an attempt to limit the powers of academic self-governing organs like academic senates.

Who stands to gain? The most radical changes were suggested by university rectors, who want to take from the deans of faculties the power to write employment contracts for their professors and assistant professors. They also want the power to appoint deans, which would absolutely destroy academic self-governance at the faculty level.

University rectors and politicians stand to gain the most from these changes, the former because university boards of trustees under the current system are composed almost entirely of their nominees, and the latter because under the new rules their trustee nominees will have a major influence on decisions made by chancellors regarding employment, the requisition and provision of services, and procurement. Is this what is meant by strengthening the ties between universities and society?


Sme, March 6

Top stories

End of investigative show a cause for concern

Media freedom watchdogs believe the scrapping of the only investigative show on public-service television is a threat to its independence.

Jaroslav Rezník

Proxy for Roma criticises minister Kaliňák for ethnical and group discrimination

The government proxy slammed Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák for the draft law on repressing criminality in Roma settlements, for populist discrimination and preferring repression to prevention.

Roma communities, illustrative stock photo

Slovak racer Svitko finished at Dakar Video

After a serious fall in the tenth leg, Slovak motorcyclist Štefan Svitko resigned from the 40th year of the Dakar Rally due to pain in his upper body.

Štefan Svitko

Carmakers in Slovakia produced more than one million cars last year

2018 will be critical for Slovakia’s automotive industry, claim sector’s representatives.

Most cars produced in Slovakia head for export.