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Rectors: Foreign students do not come due to Czech visa policy

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Prague, Sept 30 (CTK) – The Czech visa policy often makes it difficult for foreigners to study or teach at universities in the country, Charles University rector Tomas Zima said after a meeting of Czech rectors on Friday.

The Czech Rectors’ Conference headed by Zima has called on the Education Ministry to negotiate about the issue with the foreign and interior ministries.

The diplomatic offices are not able to deal with all the visa applicants who would like to study in the Czech Republic, said Ivo Medek, rector of Janacek Academy of music and Performing Arts (JAMU) in Brno.

Zima said the low capacity of Czech diplomatic missions is a problem.

Another problem is an absence of pro-active acquisition of good students, he said.

Moreover, Poland and Hungary have more inter-governmental scholarships that the Czech Republic, Zima said.

The role of Czech diplomatic missions in processing applications for long-term study stays is mostly administrative, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Michaela Lagronova told CTK.

It is the Interior Ministry that decides on the applications, while the diplomatic missions present the result to the applicants, she said.

Lagronova said high interest in study at Czech universities can be seen in certain periods of time especially in the former Soviet republics and Asian countries.

Some diplomatic missions cannot always meet all the applications because of their limited capacity but also because of problems with abuse of study stays, she said.

Some foreigners apply for study, but their real plan in the country is different, she added.

Medek said Czech universities were interested in a Turkish professor who lectured in the United States. The professor agreed to teach in the Czech Republic, but Czech authorities ordered him to go to Ankara for a visa, although professors faced persecutions in Turkey after the failed attempt at a military coup this summer, Medek said.

The Foreign Ministry said it is dealing with this case.

Deputy Prime Minister for Research, Pavel Belobradek, expressed support for hiring Turkish experts in the summer.

Zima said the Czech state declared it is ready to improve he situation, but it did not do anything.

He said Charles University had 14 students from Ukraine whom the Czech state ceased to support. He said the university would let them graduate and was seeking ways to cover the costs, but this was not the best of solutions.

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