PUBLIC universities in Slovakia will be able to form joint-stock or private limited liability companies and join ventures with commercial companies and still get state subsidies, if these business activities pertain exclusively to research and development, according to a proposed amendment to the University Act adopted by the government on January 21, the TASR newswire reported.
The amendment will also permit foreign universities to open branches in Slovakia. These branches will be entitled to the same subsidies as Slovak universities, as long as they gain accreditation in compliance with Slovak law, TASR reported.
The amendment will also protect universities from losing their property in the same way that commercial companies are protected. However, if a public university invests real estate that it received from the state into a commercial company, this real estate will not fall under the right of lien and it cannot be used to cover the liabilities of that joint venture nor any other companies or third persons, TASR wrote.
The amendment will enable foreign universities to enter the Slovak market after their study programmes are accepted by the Slovak Accreditation commission.
Education Minister Ján Mikolaj, who initiated the amendment, hopes that competition will increase in the education sector due to foreign players on the market, TASR reported.
The accreditation should take no more than three or four months, according to Mikolaj, who said that accreditation is necessary only for universities which want to obtain state subsidies.
“For example, in the Czech Republic or in Great Britain the study programmes are completely different from ours,” he explained to the SITA newswire in December.
“If [the programme] is some kind of a hybrid, we are simply not able to give them subsidies until it is clear what study programmes they offer and what subsidy they can claim and therefore we insist on the accreditation,” he said.