The ELTE Faculty of Sciences is preparing for drastic overhead cuts, and is already considering the temporary closure of some departments. Due to rising energy prices, the university is considering the possibility of switching the Faculty of Sciences to online teaching for half a year, and temporarily closing some of its departments, Népszava reports.
Hungary’s largest university, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), may be forced to cut costs due to the energy crisis, rising overheads and a reduction in state subsidies. From November to March next year, the Faculty of Sciences (TTK), which has been operating with the highest overheads, may also be closed, while education may continue online, Népszava reports.
According to the information of Népszava, the management of the faculty has already asked the lecturers to examine how they could reallocate the year-round practical classes and lab work, which require presence, to the September-October period. Final decisions could be taken next week.
A member of the faculty, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the faculty’s management is protesting against the planned measures. However, the dean is “forced” to cut overheads. Although the faculty is not the university’s largest, it is where most of the lab-intensive research takes place, and the maintenance of its two buildings accounts for almost half of ELTE’s overheads – with the lack of modern heating technology playing a big part.
According to Népszava’s informant, ELTE has applied several times for state funding to modernise its heating system over the past ten years, but has never received any money. If ELTE is indeed closed for six months, the fate of research projects could become uncertain.
The communication department of ELTE will be able to give precise answers to Népszava’s questions on Monday at the earliest. The newspaper has also contacted the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, which is responsible for higher education, but so far they have not responded to their questions.
Zsolt Pálfia, vice-president of the Union of Higher Education Employees (FDSZ), could confirm that ELTE has been “playing with the idea for weeks” that it will have to save money somehow, but he does not know about any specific decisions yet.
Ákos Hadházy, independent MEP, posted on his Facebook page on 13 August. He wrote that he has heard from many reliable sources – that are independent of each other – that the government is planning to close down schools again, citing the Coronavirus pandemic. According to Hadházy, these measures will not be enough to fight the virus, however, they will surely be enough to mask some other “corrupt” issues. For instance, the extreme shortage of teachers, and the schools then would not need to use wood-heating. “Shutting down specialist clinics and re-militarising hospitals would cover up the terrible shortage of doctors. Finally, the most important thing for them (the government – ed.) would be to ban protests,” the politician wrote in his post.
Source: Népszava, Facebook