Faculties have ever fewer students and postgrads

THE NUMBER of students, including postgraduate ones, at Slovak universities and colleges has been declining, according to a study of the Academic Ranking and Rating Agency, ARRA.

The Rector of Comenius University Karol Mičieta (l) and a fellow of its Medical Faculty, Dušan Hirjak, presented awardsto students and postgrads on International Students' Day (November 17).  The Rector of Comenius University Karol Mičieta (l) and a fellow of its Medical Faculty, Dušan Hirjak, presented awardsto students and postgrads on International Students' Day (November 17). (Source: TASR)

For the 11th consecutive time, ARRA has evaluated the quality of tuition, scientific activities, and also the interest of students in studying at Slovak universities and colleges. “While in 2008, Slovak third-level schools were attended by 215,000 students, the number was almost 5,000 lower in 2014, ARRA analyst Miroslav Medveď told the TASR newswire. He added, however, that the main reason is the demographic factor.

“The number of young people aged 19 – who are the primary applicants for study – has been falling steadily,” the analyst explained. The smallest decline in interest has been recorded in medical, agricultural and artistic studies – less than seven percent. At the opposite end are the humanities, natural sciences and law faculties where the slump in interest year-on-year has been ten to twenty percent, according to Medveď.

Interestingly enough, the number of foreign students has increased – tripled in the last ten years – and they currently represent about five percent of the total number of students. However, the number of Slovaks studying in the neighbouring Czech Republic has increased, too – to the current figure of 23,000.

The ARRA study points to the fact that the number of postgraduate students has also been declining steadily. “The overall number of postgraduate students has fallen by about one quarter since 2011; in absolute numbers, this means that we have 3,000 postgrads fewer which is less than in 2003,” Medveď stated on November 25. He attributes the decline to the change in the financing of this course of study, but he also points out that the number of such students at those faculties which are marked by active research and scientific works has started to decline – which could seriously impact Slovak research and development potential in the future, according to the analyst.

In the study, 112 faculties have been evaluated: 104 public ones and eight private ones – in 11 groups of study branches and 20 indicators, Ivan Ostrovský of ARRA said for the SITA newswire. This school year, only 83 percent of the planned number of accepted applicants actually applied, and therefore the universities, with just a few exceptions, resigned from the idea of selecting their students. The original 72-percent success rate increased to 87-percent, and truly competitive selection remains at only a few faculties.

The most sought-after faculties in the long term include the Jessenius Medical faculty of the Comenius University in Bratislava, the Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology of the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava (STU), the Economy Faculty of the Technical University in Košice, and the Law and Pedagogical faculty in Trnava, Medveď told SITA.

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Theme: Education

Read more articles by the topic

Top stories

Dozens of people die of COVID every day. A drop not expected for at least two weeks

People who would otherwise survive may die of other serious diagnoses due to the epidemic.

Illustrative stock photo

News digest: Pilot testing deemed successful

Coronavirus affects bus connections, gastronomy businesses send an open letter to the prime minister. Take a look at the latest in our news digest.

PM Igor Matovič presents the results of the pilot nationwide testing on October 26.

Slovakia orders a curfew and embarks on its COVID experiment

High turnout in testing in four northern districts, decision awaited on extending the project to the nation. Prison for a prominent prosecutor and parliament's speaker injured.

Waiting for the results of COVID tests during the pilot phase of the nationwide testing in the town of Nižná in Orava, northern Slovakia.