Universities consider online education because energy is expensive, costs expected to quadruple | current.cz



Has been updated 23 hours ago

The university is considering switching to distance learning next winter due to high energy costs. According to current price trends, energy costs will rise from 1.5 billion crowns to around 8 billion crowns next year, Milan Pospisil, chairman of the Council of Higher Education Institutions, said. Schools will not be able to pay rising energy prices without state help, he said.

“2023 is important as the majority of universities have energy contracts through the end of 2022, but current price trends mean that energy payments in 2023 will exceed the capacity of universities without state support. said Pospisil.

“Mr Baresh is discussing with government representatives whether the state can provide some kind of special subsidy for energy increases for universities next year, for example,” Pospisil added. He did not specify how much additional funding the school needed. According to him, it also depends on the further development of prices. He thinks it should be clear by the end of September.

Pospisil said the council and the president’s conference are currently simultaneously preparing a crisis scenario for the adjustment of the winter term. “We are seriously considering adjusting the end of the winter semester, for example by switching to online classes in the winter and catching up with face-to-face classes in the summer.” So that we can finish in July,” he said.

According to him, energy costs will reach about 1.5 billion crowns per year between 2019 and 2021. “It’s about a billion times higher this year,” he calculated. “In 2023, the cost of price development from April and May was expected to be 3.5 billion crowns.In July and August, the estimate increased to 7 billion crowns according to current prices, and now has reached 8 billion,” he further explained. Development.

For example, Balesh-led Masaryk University paid about 81.5 million crowns for electricity last year, but this year’s estimate is 201 million crowns, said Radim Sajbot, spokesman for the university. “The forecast for 2023 is even talking about 543 million crowns,” he said. According to him, the university paid him 9 million crowns for gas last year, but this year he could be about 35 million crowns and next year he could be 89 million crowns.

According to a spokesperson, school administrators are considering various options for energy conservation. This includes, among other things, recommendations such as working from home and turning off monitors and other devices when leaving the room. “Of course, in the event of the worst, many aspects of the university’s operations could very well be shifted to online mode,” he said.

He recalled that the school was already experiencing distance learning due to the covid-19 epidemic. He emphasized that the new semester starts on September 12th as standard at the university.

This year, about 28.6 billion crowns have been allocated for university education from the budget of the Ministry of Education. Bareš already said in June that the rector would request an additional around 5 billion for next year.

But prices have risen sharply since then, and Pospíšil says the amount needed should now be around $9 billion. At the same time, he said, the university expects part of the cost of price increases to be paid from reserves.

He added that schools are also plagued by inadequate salaries for their employees. below average income.

According to him, about 1.5 billion crowns are needed to raise tariffs by 10%. They don’t want to lay off university employees. Because they expect the number of students to increase in the next few years due to the coming of age stronger of the younger generation, he added.

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