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Foreign students have difficulties obtaining visas for study in the Czech Republic, say education officials

More than 290,000 people studied at Czech universities and colleges last year, while 68,600 graduated from them
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Prague, Oct 4 (CTK) – The share of students and teachers from abroad has been rising at Czech universities and colleges, but foreign students still have problems with visas, head of the Czech Rectors’ Conference (CKR) Petr Sklenicka told reporters following a recent CKR plenary session.

The current situation is a burden for universities, said Sklenicka, Rector of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague.

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The rectors pointed out that though the visa situation of foreign university employees, academic lecturers and researchers has improved very much, problems persist in the case of foreign students admitted to Czech universities who do not come from countries posing a security risk, Sklenicka said.

Jaroslav Miller, Rector of Palacky University in Olomouc, north Moravia, reminded that universities along with the interior, foreign affairs, and education ministries had launched the “Student Regime” system to facilitate visa procedures for students a few years ago. However, it faces two problems, he added.

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“We have students from countries that were not on the list originally, so the system will have to be revised, updated, and modernized. Then there is a problem with personnel and technologies that are at consulates and embassies,” he added.

“Many more foreigners study in the Czech Republic thanks to the combination of better measures and marketing now than some ten years ago. This burdens the system that is not flexible enough to be able to react promptly,” he added.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said on Thursday on the occasion of the opening of the academic year that new education fields to anticipate the changing times and provide flexible education reacting to new challenges were not being introduced extensively.

The National Accreditation Bureau for Higher Education (NAU) should adapt to the new trend, Babis added.

It must be said in advance which study fields and programs should be supported and which will be needed in 2030, Sklenicka said.

Miller criticized the NAU, saying it is unable to act until its chair is selected.

Stanislav Labik ended in the post in late April and NAU deputy chairman Ivan Barancik is now temporarily heading the institution. “We hope to know the nominees for the office chair within weeks,” Miller added.

Besides, the rectors discussed the methodology applied to assess universities and colleges and science funding at their plenary session. They demand that funding of significant research institutions increase at the expense of grants and projects.

In its resolution, the CKR also asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to intervene in favor of Tashpolat Tiyip, a former president of Xinjiang University. He reportedly faces capital punishment after having been detained and charged with support for separatism two years ago. The CKR leadership will send an open letter to the Chinese president in this respect.

The CKR associates 26 rectors of public universities, two rectors of state institutions and 18 rectors of private universities and colleges.

Also read:  'Smart quarantine' project to be implemented in Prague and north Moravia next week

More than 290,000 people studied at Czech universities and colleges last year, while 68,600 graduated from them.


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