Prague - In the future, students of Czech public universities will most likely have to pay fees.
The three center-right parties that control 118 out of 200 seats in parliament and are expected to form a coalition government agreed on this within their joint expert-group focused on education.
The parties said that the tuition could equal CZK 20,000 (EUR 800) for one academic year.
Particular character of the tuition is still being discussed, though. While the right-wing ODS and centrist Public Affairs prefer a variant when students pay their fees after successfully graduating, the conservative TOP 09 wants them to pay already during their studies.
„It is 20,000 a year, it is not that terrible," said the TOP 09's negotiator Jan Vitula. „In addition, every university could declare itself as having no tuition. It would be only an option," he said.
„For us, delayed tuition is socially sustainable," said Kristýna Kočí from the Public Affairs.
Introduction of the university fees was in the programs of all three parties. The ODS, which is the largest party of the trinity, proposed the measure already in the campaigns for the legislative elections in 2002 and 2006. The ODS says that students should pay only after they have graduated and reached a certain income level.
The program of the Public Affairs says that students should start to pay only after they have graduated and their salary at least equals the average income. In addition, the party proposes that students of technical universities would pay only half.
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However, there is other education-linked issue the parties may find much more difficult to agree upon. The Public Affairs wants to cut CZK 10 bil (EUR 400 mil) from the Defense Ministry's budget and shift the funds to the Education Ministry in order to help young Czech teachers. However, both ODS and TOP 09 oppose this.
„It is a nonsense," said one of the negotiators for defense issues.
„Yes, we already know that it is a very conflicting issue, and we will have to discuss it on the higher level," said Kočí from the Public Affairs, adding that it is a key topic for the party.
The higher level negotiation means that the issue will be discussed not within the expert group, but among the members of the super-group responsible for general negotiating.