Top court stays provision extending accreditations to colleges
Ljubljana - The Constitutional Court has stayed in an unanimous decision the implementation of a provision from one of the coronavirus stimulus packages that extends accreditations to higher education institutions until it comes up with its final ruling on the matter.
The provision relates to the 2016 changes to the higher education act, which introduced stricter conditions to establish a higher education institution, and stipulated that it is examined whether the existing institutions meet these conditions when their accreditations are due to be extended.
Under the changes, a higher education institution needs to get its accreditation extended by the National Agency for Quality in Higher Education at least every five years.
The sixth legislative stimulus package, passed last November, extended this deadline and stipulated that higher education institutions need to meet these conditions only when their accreditation is due to be extended for a second time.
An individual from Maribor had asked the Constitutional Court to review the provision, arguing that the change has been made without proper justification and for reasons not connected with mitigation of the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic.
The individual argues that this is an inadmissible encroachment upon the ongoing re-accreditation procedures, proposing that the country's top court stay its implementation until it takes a final decision on the matter.
Siding with the proposal, the Constitutional Court said in its decision, published on Tuesday, that possible decisions to extend for the first time an accreditation to a higher education institution under the provision would mean that the institution's accreditation would be extended under unequal, less strict conditions.
In the case that the provision is declared unconstitutional, this would nevertheless have no effect on the extension of accreditations to higher education institutions on which a final decision has already been made, the court added.