The Voice of Universities

The rectors of 26 universities and colleges in Slovakia met on 9 September 2020 at the Academy of the Police Force in Bratislava at the 93rd meeting of the Slovak Rectors' Conference ("SRC"), which was chaired by its president Rudolf Kropil. The meeting was attended by the minister of education, science, research and Sports of the Slovak Republic Branislav Gröhling and the chairman of the Executive Board of the Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education ("Agency") Robert Redhammer and other guests.

The main topic of the joint discussion was the preparation for the upcoming academic year 2020/2021 due to the pandemic situation, exchange of information and experience with the organization of teaching in conditions of transition to distance education, but also requirements for compensation of costs caused by strict hygiene and safety measures in pandemic crisis. Rectors also discussed the methodology for evaluating quality standards.

SRK members declared the readiness of Slovak colleges and universities for the new academic year, as well as compliance with hygiene and safety measures in the interest of protecting students and staff. Despite the difficult conditions, the universities are also organizationally prepared for the arrival of foreign students. They are ready to teach full-time teaching, which, if necessary, will proceed smoothly into the online environment or, as they declare today, at the beginning of the academic year will use a combined method of full-time and distance learning, depending on the nature of study.

Rectors welcomed minister´s confirmation that, based on the results of negotiations with the Ministry of Finance of the SR, funds to compensate universities for the purchase of disinfectants and personal protective equipment in connection with ensuring safety and health of students and staff will be provided to universities in the coming weeks.

SRC dealt as well as with the proposal of the methodology for evaluating quality standards and the procedures of their application in the conditions of individual universities and colleges. Robert Redhammer presented the Agency's intentions and discussed the submitted proposal with the rectors. He informed that other materials regulating the conditions of the accreditation process are still being prepared. "The proposed methodology respects the principles of autonomy of the academic environment, transparency, integrity, competence and diversity," said Rudolf Kropil in a discussion with representatives of Agency. He added that "changes in the evaluation of higher education institutions require an active approach, courage, cooperation and a willingness to change the current situation."

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