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Minister: Universities get more money for postgraduates

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Prague, Feb 12 (CTK) – Czech public universities will receive 50 percent higher contributions for postgraduate students this year, Education Minister Robert Plaga said on Monday, adding that the ministry would like the conditions of the postgraduates and their quality to improve in the next few years.

Until now, the state paid a university 90,000 crowns a year per postgraduate student. This sum will increase to 135,000 crowns a year.

The ministry’s contribution will be 11,250 crowns a month. Plaga said he hoped universities would find additional funds to pay postgraduates an even higher monthly salary.

Michal Zima, head of the Student Chamber of the Council of Universities, appreciated the marked increase in the contribution but he said the sum still is not ideal.

Czech Postgraduates’ Association head Katerina Cidlinska said the increase is insufficient. “It is a very low sum since this is actually a salary for people who are doing research,” she said.

Postgraduates have been complaining for a long time that they cannot fully devote to their study because the low scholarship does not cover their costs of living.

In 2017, 23,000 students were preparing for a doctor’s degree at Czech public universities, including 12,361 who were employed by the faculty and received a scholarship. Postgraduate students represented 7.5 percent of all students of the public universities last year.

Plaga said the increase in the scholarships for postgraduates will cost approximately 400 million crowns this year. The state wants to motivate the postgraduates to complete their programme in four years.

Czech universities will get extra three billion crowns from the state compared to the 2017 budget.

Former education minister Katerina Valachova wanted six billion crowns more for the universities and postgraduate scholarships at the level of 15,000 crowns a month.

The public universities have a budget of 24 billion crowns in 2013. According to their rectors, this is below the OECD average which is one third higher.

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