One of Budapest’s main universities could close due to high overhead costs

The ELTE Faculty of Science is preparing for drastic budget cuts and is already considering the temporary closure of some departments. Due to rising energy prices, the university is considering the possibility of moving the Faculty of Science to online teaching for six months and temporarily closing some of its departments, reports Népszava.

The Faculty of Science will likely close in October

Hungary’s largest university, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), may be forced to cut costs due to the energy crisis, rising overheads and reduced state subsidies. From November to March next year, the Faculty of Science (TTK), which operated with the highest overhead costs, could also be closed, while teaching could continue online, reports Népszava.

According to information from Népszava, the faculty management has already asked teachers to consider how they could reassign practical courses and year-round practical work, which requires attendance, to the September-October period. Final decisions could be made next week.

Dean forced to cut overhead

A faculty member, who asked to remain anonymous, said faculty management was protesting the planned measures. However, the Dean is “forced” to cut overhead. Although the faculty is not the largest in the university, it is where most laboratory-intensive research takes place, and the maintenance of its two buildings accounts for nearly half of ELTE’s overhead – the lack of modern heating technology playing a big role.

According to Népszava’s informant, ELTE has repeatedly applied for public funding to modernize its heating system over the past ten years, but has never received any money. If ELTE is indeed shut down for six months, the fate of the research projects could become uncertain.

ELTE’s communication department will be able to provide specific answers to Népszava’s questions no earlier than Monday. The newspaper has also contacted the Ministry of Culture and Innovation, which is responsible for higher education, but so far they have not answered 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 one way or another. another, but he is not yet aware of any specific decisions.

Will other schools also close?

Independent MEP Ákos Hadházy posted on his Facebook page on August 13. He wrote that he had heard from many reliable sources – which are independent of each other – that the government was planning to close schools again, citing the coronavirus pandemic. According to Hadházy, these measures will not be enough to fight the virus, but they will surely be enough to mask other “corrupt” problems. For example, the extreme shortage of teachers, and then schools would not need to use wood burning. “The closure of specialized clinics and the remilitarization of hospitals would cover the terrible shortage of doctors. Finally, the most important thing for them (the government – editor’s note) would be to ban the demonstrations, ”wrote the politician in his post.

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Source: Nepszava, Facebook