Tech uni left penniless by ministries
Ministers are only too happy to make speeches about how much the country depends on its technical universities given the lack of engineers available to industry. But related promises made by the government are often out of kilter with reality.
Witness the situation at the Czech Technical University in Prague [ČVUT], the second oldest Czech university. Its rector, Petr Konvalinka has given up on waiting for state assistance. The labour and social affairs ministry, for instance, has failed to pay ČVUT for an information systems development strategy. Likewise, the transport ministry has not made a payment in return for a proposal from the institution for a more efficient road toll system. “We could have made hundreds of millions [of crowns],” Konvalinka told E15.
ČVUT wanted to develop a program for social and other benefits for the office of Social Democrat labour and social affairs minister Michaela Marksová. In the past this area has been problematic for her ministry, with some firms being paid up to half a billion crowns a year without even having gone through a competitive tender. The minister requested that the university process an IT development proposal named Strategie 2015 plus. “To today we’ve not received a single crown for it, even though the ministry with great pomp presented the system to journalists. We had to finance it entirely alone,” complained Konvalinka.
Ministry spokesman Petr Sulek insisted that the strategy presentation and the commissioning of a public order were two distinct matters. “Those who prepare the strategy, and subsequently also the commissioning of the order, are not to participate in the selection proceedings. We will not at all bypass the law in any case,” he said.