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Saving a nearly vacant fishing school

THE SECONDARY school of fishing in Mošovce is, according to the president of the Žilina Self-governing Region, the only one of its kind in Slovakia. But since it now has only 43 students and is running at a deep financial loss, Juraj Blanár, the region's president, imagines the school’s future as part of a new centre for professional education and consultancy in fishing. In that way he believes the centre would serve both as a professional school for young people and as an instructional and advisory body for working fishermen.

More fun than maths? Slovakia's only school of fishing may soon cast its last line. More fun than maths? Slovakia's only school of fishing may soon cast its last line. (Source: TASR)

THE SECONDARY school of fishing in Mošovce is, according to the president of the Žilina Self-governing Region, the only one of its kind in Slovakia. But since it now has only 43 students and is running at a deep financial loss, Juraj Blanár, the region's president, imagines the school’s future as part of a new centre for professional education and consultancy in fishing. In that way he believes the centre would serve both as a professional school for young people and as an instructional and advisory body for working fishermen.

“Fishing is historically connected with the Turiec region and we are trying to find the best alternative to save the school. Together we must make such awareness and conditions for study so that parents and students again show interest in this branch of study,” Blanár told the SITA newswire after a meeting with Agriculture Minister Vladimír Chovan, who said he sees a chance for the school to stabilise its finances through cooperation with the fishermen’s association, which has a strong tradition in Slovakia.

In April, the Žilina regional government proposed to close the school due to the low number of students and its financial losses and to transfer the students from Mošovce to nearby Turany. However, the regional parliament voted against the proposal because they disliked the idea of moving the young people and the department staff 30 kilometres away and the parliament counter-proposed merging the fishing school with the Joint Secondary School in Martin which is closer and more viable.

But the head of the region's education department, Dana Weichslegärtnerová, responded that the Martin school is oriented to engineering and auto production, skills that are quite different to fishing or horse-breeding.

The Mošovce school has its own fish farm and a modern fish-processing facility, which holds a licence to label its main product – cleaned and frozen trout – with a mark of quality. Nevertheless, the school is being used at only 20-percent capacity, currently has no first-year students, and does not expect to fill the first-year class next year either, leaving only 20 remaining students.

According to the Žilina regional government, all the institutions involved will assemble a taskforce to look for – and find – solutions to save the unique school.


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