Only 8 percent of the €280 million allocated for education from the European Union’s structural funds go directly into the hands of teachers, pupils and schools. The largest amount, up to €160 million (57 percent), is spent on big public procurements, while €95.2 million (34 percent) remains in the ministerial institutions that manage the projects, said MP for the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) Miroslav Beblavý, as reported by the SITA newswire.
Beblavý is calling on Education Minister Dušan Čaplovič to re-assess, or at least limit, the wasting of European money. He also plans to submit several motions to the Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) over suspicions of violating the law.
The MP will also propose that the parliamentary school committee monitor the use of funds for education, especially for big projects.
“Every pupil of primary and secondary school and every teacher of primary and secondary school would get, for example, a tablet for €280 million,” Beblavý said, as quoted by SITA, adding that the money might also be used to increase teachers’ salaries by €4,307.
Instead, 34 percent of the whole package went to ministerial institutions, with most of the money being spent on the salaries and equipment of the people managing the projects. The money planned to be used for procurements is also being wasted, Beblavý said. As an example, he cited €15 million spent on the National System of Qualifications, which Slovakia could have received from the Czech Republic for free, SITA wrote.
Beblavý also said that while two previous ministers, Eugen Jurzyca (SDKÚ) and Ján Mikolaj (Slovak National Party [SNS]), tried to distribute the money from structural funds between the competition projects for schools and direct orders to the ministry’s institutions equally, current minister Dušan Čaplovič has given nearly all the funds to offices running under his department, according to SITA.
Education Ministry spokesperson Michal Kaliňák responded that Beblavý has shown that he knows nothing about the structural funds. He added that Beblavý was only trying to look for reasons to cast doubt on the success the ministry reported when drawing the money from structural funds, as reported by SITA.
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
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9. Sep 2013 at 14:00