Charles University
November 15, 2019

Prague’s Charles University Closes Czech-Chinese Center Amid Scandal

Rector Tomas Zima told the press on Wednesday that Prague’sPrague’s Charles University had to close the Czech-Chinese Centre. Local media reported that members of the university staff did not declare certain payments originating from the Chinese embassy. The payments were intended to support programs offered by the center, according to reports.

The center was created to promote cultural and academic advances using the faculties of Charles University.

The secretary of the center, unnamed by national sources, was forced to resign. The university’s website published news of the resignation. According to some reports, the university was forced to fire Milos Balaban, who served as the head of the Centre for Security Policy (SBP). Two other social sciences faculty members were also reportedly let go.

The school reportedly discovered that the faculty members in question founded a private company, called SBP. The Chinese embassy reportedly paid for conferences that were organized in part by the center. Czech news outlet Aktualne’s reporting has triggered a probe by the university of several companies that are reportedly owned by Balaban, Mirka Kortusová (who is a project and financial manager at the CSP) and Jan Ludvik and Libor Stejskal (two of the center’s research fellows).

The government of the Czech Republic is well-known to have been courting Chinese investing despite open criticism of that country’s dismal records on human rights. The push has not garnished the kind of monetary attention hoped for, apparently, failing to generate the billions of dollars reportedly expected.

According to the university’s website, the institution offers more than 50 Bachelor’s degree programs that cover more than 140 fields of study and are open to applicants all over the world, most commonly attended by Czech nationals. The university also offers over 40 Master’sMaster’s degree programs that encompass more than 120 fields of study and are also open to applicants regularly. Programs that run regularly include General Medicine, Catholic Theology, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Primary Education, Law and Legal Science, and Psychology.

The university also offers popular Ph.D. programs and claims that over 60% of Charles University Ph.D. graduates obtained their Master’sMaster’s degrees from other institutions.

The Czech Republic’sRepublic’s Constitution includes the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. The charter upholds the citizenry’s right to free primary- and secondary-level education and university level thought the latter might depend on capacity and ability.

The charter publishes as part of its mandate that, “A higher professional school provides the necessary qualifications for demanding technical activities which do not require a university degree.” Programs last at least two years and not more than three-and-a-half years.

The Czech Republic currently boasts almost 40 establishments of, either private or state-funded. Other famous universities in the Czech Republic include Masaryk and Palacký Universities, , Olomouc; University of Ostrava, Ostrava; University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Brno; University of Economics, Prague; University of Technology, Brno; Academy of Performing Arts, Prague; Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, and Polytechnical College, Jihlava.

So while Charles University had to close the Czech-Chinese Centre amid scandal, the university itself remains a pillar of that nation’s popular and successful educational system.

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