The Slovenia Times

Minister Warns against Sending Political Messages to Foreign Audiences

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Turk believes SVIZ's assessment that the Slovenian government is right-leaning, neoliberal and autocratic is politicking.

SVIZ said yesterday it would inform various foreign institutions and media in the coming days about the "destructive policies of the Slovenian government in the area of education, science and culture".

Turk stressed today that Slovenia was one of few countries in a severe financial crisis which would keep its investments per student above the levels before the period of economic growth. The cuts on these funds in Slovenia will still be lower than in countries dealing with similar problems, he added.

Due to the crisis, 15% fewer funds are available for education than before the crisis, he noted, adding that standards and norms in the Slovenian education system were milder than the average of other comparable countries.

He said the government was looking for ways to minimize layoffs but that this was still subject to talks with SVIZ, which should conclude by the end of the week.

Regarding the government announcement about cutting the number of new students at faculties of social sciences, which was met with criticism from universities as well as students, the minister said that these were no "significant restrictions that would seriously affect any of the faculties or students' chances for enrolling".

He said the government would insist on a 20% cut but was ready to negotiate the distribution of the cuts among faculties.

Jo┼że Tanko of the ruling Democrats (SDS) also responded to SVIZ's move today, saying that the government measures were aimed at protecting the public sector and the management of state assets. Similarly, the coalition People's Party (SLS) and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) questioned the unions' reactions to crisis measures.

Meanwhile, the two opposition parties, the Social Democrats (SD) and Positive Slovenia (PS), expressed support to SVIZ. The head of the SD deputy group Janko Veber believes the government is working towards privatisation of public services in Slovenia, including of the education system.

Since no dialogue is possible with the government and the consequences of its actions "could prove fatal for the development of education", there is nothing wrong with trying to warn people of the problems like SVIZ is doing, Veber said.

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