Too little, too late

Students criticise the government's low priority and lack of funding for dorm renovation.

Several dormitories in Slovakia are in need of reconstruction.Several dormitories in Slovakia are in need of reconstruction. (Source: TASR)

Allocating €10 million for the reconstruction of university halls of residence and possibly another €10 million later this year is not what Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer) promised in 2015; it is a poor patchwork solution for the alarming state of university dorms in Slovakia, said chairman of the Student Council of Universities, Bálint Lovász. He was responding to a statement made by coalition leaders on January 31 that the state would immediately allocate €10 million for the reconstruction of university halls of residence, and if the economy fares well, another €10 million could be earmarked for the same purpose in late 2018.

“We are disappointed that, at a time when the Finance Ministry is reporting the Slovak economy’s excellent results, the coalition is willing to release only 20 percent of the original promise,” said Lovász as cited by the TASR newswire, adding that such an attitude indicates that young people are not the government’s priority. “Instead of addressing the situation [with the university dorms] on time, we have ended up with a two-year delay and have received lower financial support than we were promised.”

The students view the decision to allocate one fifth of the promised sum as a compromise made at the expense of the students.

The Christian Democratic Youth of Slovakia (KDMS) views the coalition leaders’ promise as spit on the faces of students.

“Robert Fico and his ministers have done nothing for the reconstruction of the university halls of residence in Slovakia over the last 10 years,” said KDMS vice-chairman Miroslav Dragun. “With their promise to provide €10 or €20 million for reconstruction, the coalition leaders are only trying to pull the wool over students’ eyes.”

Conversely, Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport Martina Lubyová (a Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) welcomes the Government’s decision.

“I’m very pleased that with the help of the SNS we’ve managed to find funds that will boost the lives of thousands of students in university dorms,” said Lubyová.

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