Rectors oppose education budget cuts

THE SLOVAK Rectors Conference (SRK) has come out against planned budget cuts for higher education and science. Expenditures, according to the draft state budget for 2011, will be reduced by 1.6 percent and capital expenditure to less than one-third of this year’s level. Rectors of Slovak universities argue that this contradicts the government's programme for its four-year term, which talks about supporting science and education, the SITA newswire wrote in late October.

THE SLOVAK Rectors Conference (SRK) has come out against planned budget cuts for higher education and science. Expenditures, according to the draft state budget for 2011, will be reduced by 1.6 percent and capital expenditure to less than one-third of this year’s level. Rectors of Slovak universities argue that this contradicts the government's programme for its four-year term, which talks about supporting science and education, the SITA newswire wrote in late October.

“We think that by budget cuts in this area, the government will keep Slovakia in the lower ranks in comparison with other European Union countries in funding education from public sources,” SRK President Libor Vozár told a news conference in Nitra on October 28. He added that the proposed capital expenditure level would only be sufficient to address emergencies, while further construction activity at universities would have to be halted. Spending cuts would also be required in universities’ current operations.

Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport Eugen Jurzyca argued that the draft budget does not contradict the government’s programme. He conceded that capital spending would be reduced, but emphasised that the government’s commitment – that teachers in higher education will receive the same pot of money as in 2010 – remained unchanged.

“Based on the state of the public finances, it would be simply irresponsible to raise budgets in the whole public sector,” he said. The Ministry of Education is considering a new call for structural funds, in which the universities could apply for EU money for construction. Rectors welcomed this plan.


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