New rector of Prague’s Charles University, Tomáš Zima, was inducted in office on Tuesday. A doctor and biochemist, Professor Zima served as dean of the university’s First Faculty of Medicine between 2005 and 2012. President Miloš Zeman, who attended the ceremony, said Professor Zima’s election to the post was a guarantee of good cooperation between the head of state and the academic community; the ties were strained after President Zeman last year refused to appoint one of his critics as professor.
Charles University has offered roughly 20 students from Ukraine the chance to complete their studies in Prague, the institution said on Friday. The offer only applies to students who face direct persecution in their country and who could receive the university’s Václav Havel Fellowship, which is for students affected by persecution in totalitarian and authoritative countries. Ukrainian students could start attending courses in Prague immediately, the university said. A similar offer came on Thursday from Palacký University in Olomouc.
Czech students are sought after not just by local universities and colleges, but also by their European counterparts as student numbers dwindle across the continent. But while they are faced with more choice, Czech students also face a more difficult jobs market and the need to mark themselves out from the rest. Chris Johnstone looks at the evolving higher education market. More
Czech university rectors have rejected a proposal that professors should
be appointed by the speaker of the Senate. The idea surfaced at a meeting
of President Miloš Zeman with the upper house speaker, Milan Štěch, on
Tuesday. The rectors said it would be in breach of the Czech university
act. The outgoing government is set to discuss the issue on Wednesday, with
the cabinet in favour of handing the powers to the education minister,
according to the Czech News Agency.
Until last year, professors were appointed by the president. However, Mr Zeman objected to the system when he refused to appoint one of his critics as professor. The president and the education minister then reached a deal under which the authority to appoint professors would be transferred to the minister.
The government have approved a law under which the ministers of education, defence and the interior would take over the president’s power to confer the title of professor. President Zeman said that the power should be removed from his office after earlier this year becoming embroiled in a row over his refusal to name Martin C. Putna a professor. Mr. Zeman cited the fact that Mr. Putna had carried a provocative sign in a Gay Pride parade.
Tomáš Vaněk has been elected as the new dean of Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts. Mr. Vaněk, who is an alumnus of the school as well as a teacher there, received 11 of 21 votes in an anonymous vote of the academic senate. He was one of the main critics of the current dean Jiří Kotalík earlier this year, accusing him of bad management. Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts (AVU) is the oldest visual arts university in the country, having been founded in 1799.
Deans of five Prague universities have called for a major change in financing for scientific research in higher education institutions in the Czech capital, at a joint press conference on Wednesday. If overall financing for sciences and access to EU funding for Prague universities does not improve, the deans warned that institutions will soon not be able to meet European standards of education and research. The access to EU funding for Prague universities has been limited by law. As a result, funding for research and innovation in other regions has been steadily growing, while in Prague it has stagnated. The situation will most likely not change in the next three years according to current government plans.
Historian Jaroslav Miller has been elected the new rector of Palacký University in Olomouc. Mr Miller, who has served as the chair of the history department at the university’s philosophical faculty, received 15 votes from members of the academic senate in the first round. The only other candidate, incumbent Miroslav Mašlán, got nine votes. The new rector is yet to be officially appointed by President Miloš Zeman.
For the first time Prague has just played host to the European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS), a prestigious science fair and competition that takes place each year. The Czech capital brought together some of the brightest young minds in science and technology, at a time of growing concern at the numbers of young Czechs deserting scientific subjects for the humanities. Radio Prague spoke to Martin Samek from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague. More