New Education Minister comes to "gladiator arena"

PETER Ponický, 46, a university professor and the Democratic Left Party's (SDĽ) education expert, agreed to take the Education Minister post even though he described the decision as "leaving an oasis of peace for a merciless arena of gladiators who fight for their places under the sun".
The SDĽ proposed Ponický as a replacement for outgoing minister Milan Ftáčnik, who was expected to submit his formal resignation on April 19.


PETER Ponický.
photo: Sme - Ľuboš Pilc

PETER Ponický, 46, a university professor and the Democratic Left Party's (SDĽ) education expert, agreed to take the Education Minister post even though he described the decision as "leaving an oasis of peace for a merciless arena of gladiators who fight for their places under the sun".

The SDĽ proposed Ponický as a replacement for outgoing minister Milan Ftáčnik, who was expected to submit his formal resignation on April 19.

Ponický worked as deputy chair for development and IT at the technology and management institute of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic.

He said on April 17 that his job would be "to guide a moving train to a final station, although I haven't chosen the destination. I'll be a train conductor who ensures that the journey is safe".

Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda said on April 16 that "from what I have read about him, Ponický has the background to secure continuity in the education sector".

University rectors had said they wished that Ftáčnik, now head of the Social Democratic Alternative (SDA) party, would serve out his term as minister for the five months remaining until the next parliamentary elections. However, under a ruling coalition agreement from 1998, the Education Minister post belongs to the SDĽ.

Ftáčnik said he considered Ponický an education expert, and wished his replacement "good luck".

By Martina Pisárová

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