University reform does not go far enough, employers warn

Changes needed to get EU money.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

Draft legislation aimed at overhauling the university system in Slovakia will do little to solve long-standing problems with higher education failing to produce graduates fit for the needs of the country’s labour market, employers have warned.

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For years businesses have complained that many students graduate from universities without the skills to meet the needs of the labour market.

They say an amendment to the Higher Education Act approved by cabinet in late December and expected to go to parliament by spring, is unlikely to improve the situation.

The amendment aims to effect systemic change in the management of public universities, increasing transparency in the appointment of deans, rectors, and members of university management boards. It will also unify the standard length of studies of both full-time and external students, among others.

Its adoption is also important as without it, there is a threat that Slovakia will receive no money from the first EU recovery fund package.

But some employers say that although the legislation has good points, it does not include specific measures to improve the quality of university education.

Slovak universities are losing students Read more 

Moreover, they say that even though the ministry accepted some of their proposals made during consultations on the draft, they were given little opportunity to discuss the final form of the amendment.

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“No reform prepared by ministerial officials without communication with people with practical experience will be good,” said Tibor Gregor, executive director of the Klub 500, an association of Slovakia’s largest employers.

Greater influence of employers

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