Minister of Science: amendment of the Act on HEIs will facilitate cooperation with companies
The amendment to the law on universities will help in the fight against youth unemployment and facilitate cooperation between universities and business, told PAP Minister of Science Lena Kolarska-Bobińska. Also announced that the ministry wants to prepare a strategy for the development of the science sector.
In an interview with PAP, the public website Science and Scholarship in Poland, Minister of Science and Higher Education Lena Kolarska-Bobińska emphasized that the new regulations, including those concerning the abolition of fees for the second and subsequent courses of study, would take effect from the next academic year. "The Law on Higher Education will introduce a number of changes that will open universities to new trends and challenges that await us in the future" - said the head of the ministry of science. The Parliament has completed the legislative work related to the Law, now it must be signed by the President.
Kolarska-Bobińska noted that one of the advantages of the amendment is that it helps universities to open up to the needs of employers and the bring closer the worlds of science and business. "Very important in this law is the division into research universities that develop science, and those that will have more practical, vocational profile" - said the minister.
She added that in universities with a practical profile, obligatory three-month internships have been introduced. In addition, the amendment will introduce dual studies, in which students alternately study and work. "We will also follow up on graduates to see who are unemployed and where the gaps are" - said Lena Kolarska-Bobińska. She noted that the new regulations are designed to help fight the biggest problem in both Poland and the European Union: youth unemployment.
The Minister admitted that another element of the amendment, which will help bring the worlds of business and academia closer, are the new provisions to facilitate the commercialisation of science. "Scientists would often work, invent, publish, and then those designs would end up in their drawers. The collision with the world of commercial enterprises was too complicated" - said Kolarska-Bobińska. She emphasised that now the scientist who makes a discovery will be able to immediately report it to the university.
"Both sides - scientists and university - will be able to determine what to do next" - she told PAP and expressed the hope that the parties would manage to come to an agreement on favourable terms. If they fail to come to common conclusions, the university will have priority with regard to the use of the innovation. If one does not exercise this right within three months, the right to the solution are transferred to the researcher.
Lena Kolarska-Bobińska in an interview with PAP also responded to the comments of senators who already want another amendment to the Law on Higher Education. The Senate approved the amendment of the Law on Higher Education without corrections or including any of the dozens of comments of the Senate legislative office. This allowed to quickly submit the amendment to the president for signature so that it can enter into force on 1 October this year.
Senators announced, however, that they would address the defects in the law in the next revision, on which they want to start work later this term. "I believe that an amendment for the sake of having an amendment is not needed. Many issues can be addressed with soft methods, not necessarily legislative ones: programs, orders, decisions made at different levels" - the minister commented on the announcement of senators. She pointed out that you can function very well and move forward by loosening the system instead of imposing new restrictions.
She reminded that the ministry had three laws in the Sejm: on the financing of science, teaching Polish language abroad and on experiments and tests on animals. "We have a lot on our plate" - noted the Minister. For now - she emphasised - the ministry wants to focus on the activation of the scientific community with regard to obtaining grants from the Structural Funds and Horizon 2020.
Kolarska-Bobińska also announced in an interview with PAP that she intends to prepare, together with the Central Council of Science and Higher Education, a document that would determine the strategy for the development of higher education in Poland. "Any university development must be embedded in the strategy. We need to know in which direction we want to go and what kind of universities we want to have" - said the head of the ministry. She admitted that it is worth considering whether to focus on the development of several leading universities, or perhaps on smaller, regional colleges. "We must develop a strategy for higher education . We are preparing it, because we believe that we need a vision of the whole" - said the minister.
PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland, Ludwika Tomala