Czech scientists are increasingly on the American radar: domestic research institutions now have a right to apply for grants awarded by US defense agencies, a Czech-American agreement on scientific cooperation has been signed, and an Office of Naval Research Global (ONRG) has been established at the US embassy here — and a represtentative of the grant-giving National Science Foundation (NSF) is on an extended visit.
The Czechs have a special fondness for dubbing films and TV series – for which up to five episodes are voiced in one go. This production line process sometimes results in translations that grate on the ears, but there is more at stake. The Ministry of Education wants it curbed: if school-age children were obliged to start reading the subtitles, they would begin to naturally to learn foreign languages and even apply them in practice.
A new NGO is opening up science to hitherto unknown possibilities – the so-called Research Center for the Archaeology of Evil wants to teach Czech schoolchildren about racism, genocide and human nature. Who would have thought that the Education Ministry under Josef Dobeš would have earmarked funds for such a project?
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.
The European funding post at the Czech Ministry of Education has never looked more like a turbo-driven revolving door come hot seat after the sixth person in the job under Education Minister Josef Dobeš announced her departure. The move does little to dampen expectations that Brussels’ threats to freeze billions in program payments to the ministry will not be carried out.
The Czech scientific community is bracing itself for a debate as to how scientific performance should be measured and which methodology to develop to assess a wide variety of disciplines — ranging from physics to history and Slavonic studies. While the respective pole positions among the TOP 20 best scientific institutions have barely changed over time, regardless even of which assessment methodology has been applied, to remain strong, they need more funding.
Education Minister Josef Dobeš has faced intense criticism in recent weeks over planned reforms of the Czech higher education and an announcement by the European Commission that it is suspending the payment of Kč 1.2 billion of EU funds earmarked for several programs within the Education for Competitiveness Operational Program (ECOP). Now with the threat of losing Kč 53 billion, Dobeš’ position appears untenable.
Education Minister Josef Dobeš’ draft plan to reform the university system would see public universities financed in accordance with their quality, merge many smaller schools, and introduce tuition fees, among other things. Academics see the need for reform, but university officials surveyed by Czech Position have grave reservations above all with respect to the proposed law on financial support.
The Ministry of Education has received notification from the European Commission that it will not pay out at least Kč 1.2 billion allocated to finance Czech projects within the Education for Competitiveness Operational Program (ECOP) managed by the ministry. Earlier this month, Education Minister Josef Dobeš (Public Affairs, VV) said he would step down if the ministry failed to draw all EU funds available.
A tender worth almost Kč 100 million from the education budget was to be spent on legal services during controls of research projects funded from EU grants is to be scraped, the education ministry confirmed on Thursday.
Journalist at ČESKÁ POZICE. He studied ethnology and cultural theory, lectures in the anthropology of art at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University and wrote several books. He has worked at the Czech News Agency (ČTK) and the weekly Euro, and cooperates with daily Lidové noviny, the magazine Koktejl and the radio station ČRo Leonardo. His columns focus on the science of education.