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Zeman discusses nearest tasks with new education minister

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Prague, June 20 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman discussed teachers’ career system, schools’ budget for 2018 and other issues with Stanislav Stech at their meeting at Prague Castle today, on the eve of Stech’s appointment as minister of education, youth and sports.

Stech, a deputy education minister, will replace outgoing Katerina Valachova (Social Democrats, CSSD) at the ministry’s head. Valachova has resigned over suspected misuse of subsidies to sports involving her subordinates.

After the meeting, Stech said the debate on the budget mainly concerned the budget of universities.

He said he rejected modifications to the teachers’ career system as proposed by the Senate, the upper house of parliament, and acquainted Zeman with what he expects from the bill on which the lower house is going to vote next week.

Stech said Zeman confirmed that he will appoint him minister on Wednesday.

“I spent 55 minutes with the president discussing my idea of what can be done in the last four months,” Stech said, alluding to the autumn end of the government’s election term.

The general election is due on October 20-21.

Stech said the budget debate mainly focused on universities. The state spent the past years making promises to universities but primarily supporting elementary and secondary schools run by regions. It should show its awareness of this situation, Stech said.

In April, the cabinet approved another rise in the education sector’s budget, within which the budget of universities should rise to 27 billion next year, compared with 21 billion projected for this year.

The draft budget for 2018 bill submitted by the Finance Ministry, however, proposes a mere 100-million-crown increase in the budget of universities.

Stech said he and Zeman touched on the financing of science and research and cooperation between research institutions and the business sector.

He said he informed Zeman that the solving of the disputed sports subsidies is a priority for him.

“An acceptable solution must be found as quickly as possible, emotions must be calmed down and sports associations pacified,” Stech said.

He said he might announce concrete steps in this respect on Friday.

($1=23.369 crowns)


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