Prime Minister of the Czech Republic at the BUT: The University reads well the challenges of the time
Brno University of Technology (BUT) is one of the top technical universities not only because of its quality studies and excellent results in science and research, but also because it follows the trends and demand of society. This approach was appreciated by the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Petr Fiala during his visit of the BUT on 30 May. Together with representatives of the academic community of the BUT, the Prime Minister discussed the priorities of technical education and research in the Czech Republic. The visit also included a showcase of exhibits of research and creative activity at the BUT.
BUT has just under 20 thousand students, making it the largest technical university in the Czech Republic. In addition to all the technical disciplines typically offered at technical universities around the world, BUT also provides studies of economics, management and the arts. It focuses on basic and applied research in technical fields and is a leader in contract research with industry and the application sphere.
According to the Prime Minister, the BUT responds very well to the challenges of the times. "The BUT is a top university that offers studies and conducts research in currently needed fields such as semiconductor technology, space industry and nuclear energy," said the Prime Minister. He remarked that while one can have many reservations about various social initiatives, such as the Green Deal, the only sensible attitude is to look at it as an opportunity that can positively impact the field of research and technology transfer.The Czech Republic is the second most industrialised country in the European Union, yet the interest in technical and science education is declining. According to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and the Rector of the BUT, interest in these fields should already be stimulated in secondary and primary schools. "The current demographic development creates the need to deal with, among other things, the reform of primary and secondary education, its capacity, structure and quality of education, which is one of the current priorities of the Ministry of Education," said the Prime Minister.
When asked about the upcoming amendment to the Higher Education Act, the Prime Minister confirmed that the reform of doctoral studies remains one of the topics still under discussion. Some questions are related to it, such as whether a systemic solution would be to employ doctoral students instead of offering scholarships, following the example of foreign universities. "The change in the system of doctoral studies has the full support of the state," confirmed the Prime Minister.
Another key issue of the discussion was knowledge transfer. The Czech Republic's strategic priorities are semiconductor technologies or nuclear energy, where we are experiencing a shortage of experts. Another opportunity is in the field of batteries, where the Czech Republic has the potential to cover the entire technology chain from mining to the production of batteries and accumulators, for example for the automotive industry. "I am pleased to see these priorities as part of the strategic direction of the BUT," said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister shared with the Rector of the BUT the idea that it is necessary to free higher education from bureaucracy and to strengthen the opportunities for universities to create start-ups and spin-off companies. "It is necessary to simplify administration and improve the conditions for transferring knowledge into practice and to increase the resilience and security of research institutions," the Prime Minister confirmed. However, in this process, the government does not intend to copy models from abroad. "We can take inspiration from other countries, but if we are to find a truly effective solution, we must set up a system that works for Czech society," he added.
The government is ready to support universities not only financially but also legislatively. However, if the quality of teaching and research in the Czech higher education environment is to be improved, a discussion is needed not only within the government but also with the schools themselves. "The government plans to take measures to raise the level of higher education. But for this, suggestions from the academic community are also needed. Therefore, we very much welcome efforts to discuss the issues with us and to share experiences in where academics and students perceive challenges or obstacles," the Prime Minister said.
"I am very pleased that we had the opportunity to present the Prime Minister with the vision and strategic goals of our university and to see that in many ways they meet the priorities that the government sees. Particularly pleasing is the shared opinion on the need to find ways to support technical education as a social priority to increase the competitiveness of the economy and industry of the Czech Republic," said the Rector of the BUT.
The visit of the Prime Minister included a presentation of the creative activities of the BUT. A show of exhibits brought the Prime Minister closer to the current research carried out by scientists and students at individual faculties and institutes of the BUT.
|Responsible person||Ing. et Ing. arch. Jana Valchová|
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