The coronavirus pandemic is already changing our lives. Many everyday activities have moved into the virtual world. This applies especially to our social life but increasingly work and learning as well. Psychologists underline that the key to getting over this difficult time is to stay in touch and not to get into isolation. Vít Pohanka describes how he deals with the problem with his foreign students at the University of Pardubice.
The Czech Republic will not be offering grants to students from developing
countries next year due to a cut in finances, Czech Radio reported on
In the years between 2013 and 2019 the country annually financed the studies of 130 students from the developing world at Czech universities, paying them 14 thousand crowns a month in addition to accommodation.
The program is being curtailed after the finance and foreign ministries failed to get an additional 13.5 million crowns to keep it going.
The 112 million earmarked for the project this year will only suffice to allow the students already here to conclude their studies.
More than 60,000 foreign students studied at Czech universities last year – a record high. Most full-time diploma students are from neighbouring Slovakia, followed by ex-Soviet states such as Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, with interest from India and China steadily rising. Most exchange students, coming for just a semester, are from the United States.
According to data from the Centre for International Cooperation in
Education, America far exceeds any other country in the number of students
that come to the Czech Republic for study stays. The statistics were
analysed by Czech Radio’s data journalism team, which published its
findings on Thursday.
Last year’s data shows that Americans made up more than 16 percent of all study abroad students in the country, with France trailing behind at 8.4 percent. The total number of such students in the Czech Republic lies at 16,000. Meanwhile, there are more than 44,000 foreigners studying for a degree at Czech universities, the vast majority of them Slovak.
According to data from 2016–2017, the Czech Republic was the 13th most popular study abroad destination for US students.
The Czech Republic is becoming increasingly popular with university students from the United States, according to the latest report by the Institute of International Education, a US organisation monitoring international student exchange. While back in the 1990s the post-communist country was a largely unexplored destination, attractive mainly for its night life and cheap prices, today’s students seem to be coming here with very specific academic goals.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has met with four out of twenty Syrian students, who are set to study at Czech universities, during his two-day visit to Jordan. The costs of their five-year-long fellowhips will be covered by the Czech government. The first young Syrians, whose families had to flee their country to Jordan due to the civil war, should arrive in the Czech Republic in November. Among the subject of their studies will be economy, civil engineering and hotel management.
Charles University in Prague has decided to open up to migrants who are seeking asylum in the Czech Republic. Four of the university’s faculties have offered to provide free tuition and accommodation to refugees who have been granted asylum and residence permits in the country and who have passed the entrance exam. I spoke to Jan Konvalinka, Vice rector of research at Charles University, and I first asked him about the reasons behind the project:
The Czech Foreign Ministry has proposed giving Syrian students grants to study at Czech universities as a way of helping to build intellectual elite in the war-racked country. The proposal, which is to be presented to the cabinet on Wednesday, envisages offering grants to 20 students for the next six years which would cost the state five million crowns a year. The first year would be devoted to learning Czech after which the students could study in Czech or English. Applicants would be processed by the Czech embassy in Amman in cooperation with UNHCR. The final selection would be made by the Czech Education Ministry.
This Wednesday Prague’s Anglo-American University will be holding a double celebration. The institution will be marking 25 years of existence – and officially opening its new campus at the magnificent Thurn-Taxis Palace in Malá Strana. Ahead of the celebrations I visited the building to meet Anglo-American’s president, Associate Professor Alan Krautstengl. I first asked how hard it had been for his predecessors to sell the idea of a private, English-language university so soon after the fall of communism.