President Klaus appoints vice-rector Petr Fiala Czech education minister

Petr Fiala (left) and Czech president Vaclav Klaus (left). Photograph: Mediafax.

Unaffiliated Petr Fiala said he was very well aware of the task he has accepted, and assumes it with great humility. A former rector and present vice-rector of Masaryk University Petr Fiala became the new minister of education today. Czech president Vaclav Klaus appointed him at Prague Castle at 10 a.m.

“Twice you have accepted the post of rector in this very place, so you know very well what you are going into. I believe that this important post is passing into the right hands,” president Klaus said during the appointment ceremony for a new minister, which was broadcast live by Czech Television.

Unaffiliated Petr Fiala said he was very well aware of the task he has accepted, and assumes it with great humility. Fiala will have a lot of problems to cope with in the educational sector. “I know that high expectations are now linked with the appointment of a new minister. Education and Czech science in general is facing big changes, many challenges and problems. I am the last one who would think that it could all be solved. But I promise that I will do my best and use all my knowledge and experience,” said new minister Fiala.

Prime Minister Petr Necas nominated Fiala for the post of Minister of Education, Youth and Sports at the end of April. He replaces Josef Dobes, who left his office in late March. Government parties (Civic Democrats – ODS and Top09) agreed on the nomination of Petr Fiala, and also the opposition Social Democrats see Fiala as a qualified expert.

Professor of political science Petr Fiala headed Masaryk University for two terms from 2004 to the end of August 2011. In the last two years, he chaired the Czech Rectors‘ Conference. At the time he was first elected as rector he was the youngest rector ever in the modern history of Czech higher education. Since the beginning of September 2011, he has worked as vice-rector of Masaryk University for academic affairs. He has been also a senior scientific adviser to the prime minister and a member of the Research, Development and Innovation Council.