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Interest in university degrees drops

LAST year saw a drop in the interest of young people in university studies. This result comes as part of the annual ranking of Slovak universities by the Academic Ranking and Rating Agency (ARRA), whose 2013 edition was presented on November 27.

LAST year saw a drop in the interest of young people in university studies. This result comes as part of the annual ranking of Slovak universities by the Academic Ranking and Rating Agency (ARRA), whose 2013 edition was presented on November 27.

The ranking evaluates the quality of education and research at 109 faculties of Slovak universities, divided into 11 categories based on the fields of study, Miroslav Medveď from ARRA explained, as reported by the TASR newswire.

The ranking has not seen big changes compared to previous years. Traditional leaders in their fields, the Faculty of Chemistry and Food Technology of the Slovak University of Technology, the Comenius University’s medical school, and the school of economics of the University of Technology in Košice, ranked the highest this year as well.

ARRA’s evaluation uncovered a trend of declining interest in university studies. The number of students has dropped continuously since 2007, but only in 2013 did the number of students who enrolled for academic programmes drop below the number of places in the programmes, said Ivan Ostrovský of ARRA, as reported by TASR, adding that demographic trends suggest this trend will continue in the next decade.

“This drop in interest for studies is less marked in better-quality faculties and the stable leaders in their groups [in the ranking] have actually recorded an increase in the number of applicants,” Ostrovský said, as quoted by TASR.

ARRA also revealed that the increase in the number of PhD students now seems to have stopped and for the first time in the nine years that ARRA has been publishing its ranking, the number of PhD students dropped year-on-year. This is again not true for the faculties that rank among the best in the long run, according to Ostrovský.

“On the other hand, this drop was seen to a much higher extent in weaker faculties, which might be a sign of the starting differentiation of schools into those doing research and those doing education,” Ostrovský said, as quoted by TASR.

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