The Slovenia Times

Impeachment motion against Šarec only backed by SDS and SNS


The latest discussion on the issue saw Šarec underline his commitment to implement the 2014 Constitutional Court ruling on equal funding for private and public schools, but the junior coalition SocDems and opposition Left also remained entrenched in their opposition to any solutions they said undermined public education.

Notably, the SDS, which has mounted several unsuccessful attempts at raising funding for private schools, also watched the fellow centre-right opposition New Slovenia (NSi) abstain from the vote.

The debate saw the SDS accusing Šarec of breaching the Constitution by failing to secure changes that would enable full as opposed to 85% state funding of publicly-approved curricula at private primary schools.

The need to respect the top court's rulings was stressed and the centre-left government and Šarec were accused of ignoring the court merely on ideological grounds.

The prime minister insists on inequality before the law and allows discrimination of children who attend publicly-approved curricula at private primary schools, which are still funded at a lower rate than in public schools, SDS MP Tomaž Lisec said.

Šarec responded by assuring MPs that the decision of the Constitutional Court would not be ignored.

He said the Education Ministry had already drafted several versions of changes to the act on the organisation and financing of education and that 1 September this year is being targeted as the date of enforcement.

Šarec argued several solutions were possible, suggesting the SDS's proposals for full funding of publicly-approved curricula had probably purposely overlooked the difference between the mandatory and extended programmes as defined by law.

While noting that he was an advocate of public education, Šarec said this did not mean that anyone should be denied the right to private education. But he is convinced that the universal accessibility of public education is an important element in society which should not be left exclusively to the market.

Responding to the discrimination accusations, he argued that "discrimination perhaps lies somewhere else: in enrolment conditions at public and private schools not being the same".

Meanwhile, some of the coalition parties took issue with the impeachment motion as such, with Igor Zorčič of the Modern Centre Party (SMC) arguing the initiators were aiming at the wrong target and suggesting the National Assembly as the legislator was the right address.

Heralding potential issues with Šarec's future efforts to push through any material legislative changes, the SocDems and the Left voiced strong opposition.

The former argued they would "not consent to any solutions that would start undermining public schools", while the latter labelled the impeachment motion as the right exerting pressure on public education.

With little offered by way of details regarding potential forms of implementing the top court's ruling, the discussion drifted into ideological wrangling over the merits of public and private education in general.

SDS MP Lisec expressed his bewilderment at the fear that "private schools, which make up 1%, will impoverish public schools, which account for 99%".

NSi MP Jožef Horvat argued in favour of a mixed system, comparing the situation to healthcare, where the public system is enriched by private clinics. He highlighted the rising popularity of private education in the world.


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