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Slovak Education Minister to propose rules for new universities

Education Minister Ján Mikolaj told TASR on December 28 that he does not want Slovak universities to “spring up like mushrooms” regardless of their quality. Miklolaj is therefore preparing to tighten up the requirements for setting up new universities which he said would be only quality-oriented.

Education Minister Ján Mikolaj told TASR on December 28 that he does not want Slovak universities to “spring up like mushrooms” regardless of their quality. Miklolaj is therefore preparing to tighten up the requirements for setting up new universities which he said would be only quality-oriented.

“The first phase of a new university's life is totally benevolent. The institution enjoys what amounts to a five-year break in terms of its quality, during which it is free to issue diplomas, and that's a mistake,” said Mikolaj.

An extensive accreditation process is currently taking place to evaluate and divide universities into a number of categories. Mikolaj emphasised that he does not want to shut down any existing universities.

“That would be inappropriate. We set up the system so that universities either improve to a certain quality level and continue to exist, or not improve and cease to exist. A third alternative is to merge with another university,” he said.

In the past, Slovakia lacked people with university education in comparison to its overall population and, according to Mikolaj, it is understandable that a couple of years ago the criteria allowed as many Slovaks to study as possible.

"It quickly went to the other extreme, however. Almost 70 percent of young people born in a certain year are studying at universities, whereas specialist secondary-school leavers are few and far between," Mikolaj stated. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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