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Government adds three billion to universities’ budget

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Prague, Sept 25 (CTK) – The Czech government’s leadership has agreed to raise universities’ budget by three billion crowns in 2018, Deputy PM Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL)) said during the government meeting on Monday.

He proposed a compromise of 35.6 billion crowns for science and research, he added.

The government leaders have also reached consensus on the agriculture budget, Belobradek added.

Universities made their consent to the 2018 budget conditional on the minimum three-billion-crown rise.

They threatened with protests to be held in early October if the government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and KDU-CSL did not agree with the rise.

Universities originally demanded that their budget rise by 4.5 billion crowns that the previous education minister, Katerina Valachova (CSSD), promised them in the spring.

Their representatives announced on Friday that they would stage protests if the government added less than three billion crowns to universities.

The current draft budget worked out by Finance Minister Ivan Pilny (ANO) plans 161 billion crowns for the education chapter, which is less than before the summer holiday when it was 168 billion crowns.

The Education Ministry has a budget of 156 billion crowns this year.

The budget of universities has been stagnating around 21 billion crowns for several years.

The government decided in May to raise the science and research budget to 36.2 billion crowns, 3.5-billion more than this year. The Finance Ministry proposed a decrease by some 2.8 billion crowns.

The leaderships of the Czech Rectors’ Conference, the Universities’ Council and the university employees’ trade union will meet on Tuesday afternoon to decide on their further steps.

If the government approved the rise, protests will no be staged during the planned Week of Education scheduled for early October.

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