The Slovenia Times

Markež Appointed New Education Minister


Succeeding Stanka Setnikar Cankar, who stepped down after it transpired she had made hundreds of thousands of euros with freelance work for a faculty that she headed as dean, Markež was backed in a 46:16 vote.

The need to tackle the excessive fees for selected individuals at universities was one of the central points in the debate before the vote, as was the ongoing discussion on the public financing of private education, which especially the junior SocDems see as a threat to public education.

Markež has described herself as a supporter of quality public education but added she did not oppose private education as long as public education was effectively protected.

She was praised by the coalition for the experience she gained with running the Public University in Ptuj for a decade before becoming MP in 2014; she also headed the Association of Public Universities in 2008-2012.

Prime Minister Miro Cerar said Markež being entrusted with running this public educational institution for adults after she had been working there for several years was proof her work had been valued.

He highlighted her experience with organisation, the phasing of EU funds and past cooperation with relevant ministries.

Two of the four opposition parties, the Democrats (SDS) and the United Left (ZL), were however very critical of the candidate.

The SDS sees Markež as an unknown with little political and practical experience who has failed to provide any tangible plans so far.

The ZL fears she will be a willing executor of what the party sees as the government's damaging austerity policies in education.

Some of the key challenges for Markež highlighted in the debate included the reputation and autonomy of teaching, the financing of study assistance, and the integration of the Roma population.

In her first statement after the appointment, Markež rejected the notion that she was not sufficiently experienced. She said she trusted the team currently at the ministry to do a good job.

Markež will formally take over on Monday. She said the first job would be to talk to the senior staff at the ministry and be be briefed on pressing issues.


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