Thursday, 14 December 2017 | News today: 14

Skopje University: No violation of autonomy, universities to get working conditions

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A group of students are attempting to block the entrance to the Rectorate building in the Ss Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, in protest after the planned construction of two new faculty buildings. Workers began preparing the downtown Skopje site of the largest Macedonian university to build offices for the Faculty of Information Technology (FINKI) and the Faculty of Physical Education, Sports and Health (FFOSZ).

The University informed on Sunday that the construction of these two buildings is necessary because both faculties currently operate in unsuitable and dilapidated buildings, while the downtown lot is easily accesible and currently unused. “The construction site was not used by the students, but it was often the site of different deviant groups gathering overnight, which led to frequent material damage to the near-by University buildings, theft and leaving of hazardous waste materials. At the same time, the barracks used by FFOSZ are so worn out, we’ve had three accidents in the past three years, including a fire, which led the Faculty to ask the Education Ministry to immediately provide suitable space”, the University writes in a press release.

Regarding the other faculty, FINKI, which was formed in 2011 in order to advance the spread of information technology in the country, the University press release says that the number of students has tripled in the past four years to 4.000. The information technology faculty uses class-rooms available at several other faculties and is forced to work in shifts until late in the evening, as well as on Saturdays.

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The funding for the two new buildings was provided by the Education Ministry, and the site, close to the Rectorate building and the Law, Economy and Philosophical Faculties, is state owned and there is no need to purchase land for the project. The student groups protested against the cutting down of four dozen trees on the construction site, and against the architectural style of the buildings that will contrast with the brutalist concrete style of the Rectorate and near-by faculties.

The Professor’s Plenum, an association of faculty professors that has supported student groups in their protests over the spring, informed that it supports the initiative to build new facilities for FINKI and FFOSZ, but in a different site. The Plenum proposes that FFOSZ is located closer to the Boris Trajkovski sports hall, while FINKI is built close to site of the electro-technical faculties, in the Karpos area of Skopje.