On Thursday 5 December, the IBTS Rector attended the 123rd Plenary Meeting of the Czech Rectors’ Conference in the Congress Centre in Prague. After the traditional introduction of the hosting university (The University of Business in Prague) and reports by the chairpersons, a few quite heated discussions took place.
First, the possible clash of interest in case of simultaneous political and academic function was discussed, as some of the public universities’ deans were elected in recent parliament election. The points of view taken were very different – from the opinion that it is a personal concern of everybody and the universities have no right to intrude, to the opinion that nearly all politicians actually work in more functions at a moment so there is nothing strange about that. However, the majority belief expressed in a Resolution of the meeting was that the political and academic functions are incongruous.
In the afternoon part of the meeting, the outgoing Minister of Education, prof. RNDr. Dalibor Štys, CSc. took part as a guest. The discussion was led in a very tense atmosphere – the higher education sector in the Czech Republic is currently going through a kind of a “state of war” between the universities and the President, as the President is refusing to sign the professorship decrees for over 70 new professors even though it is his constitutional duty. The Minister of Education is maintaining this status quo by not acting in any way, taking more the side of the President instead of the universities, and the rectors were expressing their indignation with this long-lasting, unsatisfactory situation. No common language was found and the discussion finished without any joint conclusion or mutual understanding.
The next CKR meeting is planned for February when a new chair will be elected.