Slovak University Reform Has Become Apple of Discord

Division over Bill Backed by Governing Coalition

22 March 2021

Aliaksei Kazharski

Visegrad Insight Fellow

A higher education reform bill threatens a high degree of institutional autonomy that Slovak universities have always enjoyed. However, the absence of efficient quality control mechanisms means that universities can become a breeding ground for all sorts of impostors, conspiracy theorists, and disinformation agents.

The Slovak academic community is divided over the new reform bill. Some argue that involving the state in running the universities is an unacceptable infringement on academic freedoms. A public campaign against the so-called ‘politicisation’ of education is in full swing.

Others point out the fact that the university self-government, in its present form, has continuously failed to act in the public interest and to address some of the most serious problems in the higher education system.

Many in Slovakia would agree that the Slovak higher education system has long needed serious reform. Slovak universities enjoy the benefits of being part of the European Union’s shared education space, and yet, more than thirty years into the post-Communist transition, they are clearly underperforming. According to the 2021 World University Rankings, no Slovak university scores better than 1001+.

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Aliaksei Kazharski

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Researcher at the Institute of European Studies and International Relations of the Comenius University in Bratislava and a lecturer at the Department of Security Studies of Charles University in Prague

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