Večer worried about political interference in higher education

Ljubljana – The newspaper Večer comments on the creation of new public higher education and research institutions in Friday’s commentary, expressing concern that degrees could become totally devalued.

Under the headline Ourism the paper writes that distribution of various positions, concessions, creation of ministries and waste of budget funds along party lines is not new to the current government but the phenomenon which it calls “our-ism” has taken on immense proportions in its term.

“Higher education and science are just two of the social sub-systems that are ideal targets for such conduct, which is being nodded to both from left and right in the name of harmful local patriotism. One such model example is plugging the Pomurje Academic and Science Union (PAZU) into the budget […]

“There is nothing wrong with such academies as long as they function as PAZU has functioned so far. It is wrong when budget money is being thrown about without criteria. However, wishes get fulfilled because State Secretary [Mitja] Slavinec is behind this institution […]

“But Slavinec is a small fry compared to the Rončević-Makarovič-Tomšič trio […] After they got the first public independent college, FIŠ, in [PM Janez] Janša’s first term, and after the failed attempt to award concessions in the second term they are now getting concessions, institutes, public colleges and sooner or later they will also get a university. Of just a few hundred students.”

The problem is that money is being awarded without serious independent analyses whether such institutions are needed and what their results will be, writes the paper, adding that such conduct is possible because the state lacks a vision or strategy as to how many colleges or institutions are needed.

“Slovenia does not have enough resources for unlimited growth of such institutions. And if we continue on such a path – there are indications not all that shines is gold – we will completely devalue degrees of our higher education institutions.”