Labour Ministry Kills Off Continuing Education Fund

Prague, Sept 4 (CTK) – The Czech Labour and Social Affairs Ministry wants to abolish its Fund for continuing education (FDV) whose task is to draw EU subsidies for projects in support of employment, Barbara Hanousek Eckhardova has said, citing the FDV’s instability and a low demand for its services.


The ministry wants to terminate the FDV’s operation as of December 31.


It says the FDV has been instable in both financial and personnel terms and has diverted from its original task. A proposal for its abolition will be submitted to the cabinet.


Three former employees of the ministry, including ex-minister Jaromir Drabek (TOP 09) face prosecution for suspected abuse of power linked to the FDV.


The ministry says the FDV was to focus on education and boost employment. It was to control the flow of European money going to programmes in this field.


The FDV’s operation has been continuously swelling and the number of its external aides has risen to twice as many as that of the regular employees. At the same time, the FDV has failed to meet its original goals for a long time and the demand for its services has been low, the ministry said.


It said a risk also lies in the sustainability of projects and in labour conditions, of which trade unions complained and even went on strike alert two years ago.


The FDV has also been repeatedly criticised by the lower house social affairs committee.


A working group has been established at the ministry to prepare the procedure of the FDV’s abolition and decide which of its projects should continue running under the ministry’s supervision.


The FDV was established in 2011 as a ministry-subsidised organisation.


In 2015, the Supreme Audit Office (NKU) stated that the ministry had established the FDV at variance with law. The police raided the ministry over the case in late 2016.


This May, the police organised crime squad said they prosecute three former employees of the ministry for a suspected planning of a subsidy fraud and abuse of power within the FDV’s transformation.