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Prague declaration highlights universities as free environment

ČTK |
16 May 2016

Prague, May 13 (CTK) - The Prague Declaration which was signed by 76 universities from 29 countries at a conference of rectors in the historical building of Charles University says the schools' task is to create space for a free exchange of opinions and it places emphasis on critical thinking.

The declaration was also signed by representatives of three international university associations, Coimbra Group, Europaeum and UNICA, Charles University's rector Tomas Zima and Education Minister Katerina Valachova.

Zima told journalists that the signatories include 28 Czech higher learning institutions, European universities and institutions from Japan and the United States.

The conference was held on the occasion of the celebrations of the 700th birth anniversary of King of Bohemia and Roman Emperor Charles IV.

The declaration says critical thinking of free people and free discussion remain the most precious values in spite of the dramatic changes the world has undergone since the birth of Charles IV.

UNICA President Luciano Saso said the task of universities is not only to educate good experts, but also good citizens.

An educated citizen of the world is less prone to accepting simple solutions, the declaration says.

Zima said present university graduates will reach the peak of their professional careers in 20 years in the earliest.

"No one of us can guess what the world will be like then. That is why they must be capable of discerning between the honest and dishonest, between the scientific and unscientific," he said.

The Prague Declaration is an open document which anyone can join. The associations which signed it will spread it electronically.

About 60 rectors also spoke about the need for international cooperation. Charles University signed new agreements with the Swiss schools in Lausanne and Geneva.

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