Ex-minister Dobeš returns to Education Ministry as advisor

Within days of handing in his resignation as education minister, Josef Dobeš returns to advise his former deputy minister Ladislav Němec 

Politics & Policy
Martin Rychlík | 05.04.2012
The education ministry declined to reveal how much Josef Dobeš will be paid as an advisor

Having resigned as education minister on March 31, Josef Dobeš (Public Affairs, VV) is returning to the same ministry as an advisor to his former deputy, now acting education minister, Ladislav Němec. On first sight the news may appear like a late April fool’s joke, but Dobeš has been “presented” to the top officials at the ministry as an advisor and confirmed the report.

On condition of anonymity, a well-placed source told Czech Position that Dobeš’ return had been agreed. “Were you afraid of what would happen to Dobeš? No need for you to worry – he’s an advisor at the Education Ministry. And of course not for free,” the source said.

And on Thursday morning the education ministry finally responded to four questions posed by Czech Position. “Mr. Josef Dobeš has the position of advisor with a maximum of a third of a full-time engagement. He is working with first deputy minister Ladislav Němec on the transition agenda which could not be completely managed due to limited time. His engagement is only until the time a new Minister of Education and Sport takes up his post,” the ministry replied.

The ministry did not respond to our enquiry about Dobeš’ remuneration.  

The news is certainly a surprising development. Dobeš will certainly have a lot of useful tips for his colleagues, though just this past Monday he told the daily Lidové noviny that he was considering two exit strategies. “Now I’m taking time off and will cure myself — since last October I’ve been on antibiotics five times — then I will consider what next. Isee two paths. The first is that I completely finish with politics, give up my mandate [as a member of parliament]and lead a normal, pleasant life like I knew it before my mug was plastered everywhere. Otherwise I will give myself a shakedown and tell myself that I’ll try it again in Public Affairs,” Dobeš told the daily, adding that education is a priority for VV.

Labeled the best education minister he can remember by President Václav Klaus, Dobeš clearly doesn’t want to walk away from the work he started and was condemned for by many prominent figures in academia, not to mention students. After announcing his resignation, Dobeš said he intended as an MP to speak out on issues concerning his former ministry.

Sources close to the main government party, the Civic Democrats (ODS), have told Czech Position that in addition to the ministry of culture, the largest coalition party is considering abolishing the education ministry and transferring its competences elsewhere. Another option being weighed by the ODS is merging the education and culture ministries. 

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