JOINT STATEMENT OF UNIVERSITY BODIES - about government’s planned measures
JOINT STATEMENT of the Senate of the University of Ljubljana, the Management Board of the University of Ljubljana, the Student Council of the University of Ljubljana and the College of the Deans of the University of Ljubljana adopted at the joint session on 19 April 2012
The University of Ljubljana accepts responsibility for the performance of its mission to provide higher education in the Republic of Slovenia.
“Knowledge is a public good and higher education is a public responsibility. Higher education’s two fundamental roles in society primarily include strengthening and empowering citizens in terms of their personal development, professional career and active citizenship, as well as the spiritual, social, artistic, cultural and economic development of our community. For this reason, higher education and the associated scientific research is placed at the heart of the Republic of Slovenia’s development ambitions. Higher education is the Republic of Slovenia’s priority, especially in these difficult times of global economic crisis.” (Resolution on the National programme of higher education of the Republic of Slovenia for 2011-2020 adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia at the session on 24 May 2011).
In the modern globalised world, universities represent the core institutions of social and economic stability and development, which is why countries are preserving and increasing investments into them.
The University of Ljubljana is concerned about the government’s current plans and actions pertaining to higher education, science and art. The planned measures are especially unacceptable at this stage, where we are still in the process of fulfilling the modified legislative requirements from 2004 and 2008 and completing the transformation of our higher education system. This transformation requires a considerable increase in the number of second-cycle enrolment slots on account of the students who are completing their first-cycle studies for the first time and want to advance to the next cycle. Stopping the transformation at this stage would actually be the most costly and inappropriate solution in terms of both the study process and the students. It cannot be completed properly using current resources, but the planned reduction of funding makes its completion absolutely impossible. The Republic of Slovenia’s responsibility is to provide funding while the University of Ljubljana’s responsibility is to complete the transformation properly and rationally for all stakeholders.
The University of Ljubljana understands the harsh financial and economic situation and has already adapted by rationalising its operations, saving resources and through responsible management. When adopting its 2012 financial plan, the University of Ljubljana envisaged the required rationalisation actions. The University is prepared to reconsider all possible additional measures, provided that this would not reduce the quality of its operations. In no event will the University agree to procedures that would threaten its autonomy.
We understand and support the long-term balancing of the Republic of Slovenia’s budget; we agree with the so-called horizontal measures that will bring equal cost reductions throughout the public sector in terms of labour costs (salaries, etc.), material costs and investments. We do not, however, agree with the additional reduction of public funds for higher education and science, which is disproportionate to the other budget users, as it would prevent us from fulfilling our legally prescribed obligations and would mean the complete withdrawal from the commitments made by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Community for a knowledge-based society. This would have extremely negative consequences for Slovenian society, both present and future generations, and it is our duty to warn about this and insist on reasonable solutions.
At the joint session on 19 April 2012, the Senate of the University of Ljubljana, the Management Board of the University of Ljubljana, the Student Council of the University of Ljubljana and the College of the Deans of the University of Ljubljana hereby adopt the following decision:
The proposed revised budget of the Republic of Slovenia for 2012 states that the University of Ljubljana would receive significantly less funding for its operations in 2012 compared to 2011 (over €30m less). The University of Ljubljana cannot fulfil its legally prescribed tasks using the proposed funds. Regarding the already adopted financial plan, the University is prepared to further reduce it by an agreed amount in terms of labour costs, material costs and investments. All other items must be funded to an extent that will not cause permanent and irreparable damage to the University of Ljubljana, the higher education system and the country as a whole. In accordance with our role and mission and the constitutionally guaranteed autonomy, we call upon the Government of the Republic of Slovenia to immediately include us as a partner in a joint search for solutions."
President of the Student Council of the University of Ljubljana:
President of the Management Board of the University of Ljubljana:
Prof. Dr. Dušan Mramor
Rector of the University of Ljubljana:
Prof. Dr. Radovan Stanislav Pejovnik
Ljubljana, 19 April 2012