On April 24th, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic and progressively worsening quarantine conditions, the Czech government passed Act No. 188/2020 Coll., On Special Rules for Education and Decision-Making at Higher Education Institutions in 2020 and on the Assessment of Study Period for the Purposes of Other Acts. The act was said to be a response to the coronavirus situation and provided university students with a deadline of 45th day after the start of the next academic year (November 5th, in AAU’s case) to complete nostrification of their previous academic diplomas.
The act affected students in all levels of university studies, however, Bachelors students requiring nostrification of their foreign high school records have perhaps taken the hardest blow. The process of nostrification in the Czech Republic is done through comparison of your foreign school program and that of your Czech peers; the number of hours and the subjects offered rarely match. Students whose school records recognizably differ from that of Czechs are required to take exams, oftentimes in subjects they had only studied years before or not at all. The process of nostrification takes, on average, 40 to 60 days. The price usually starts at 4000czk and increases significantly if the student is applying from abroad. Students from outside of Europe tend to be assigned 3-4 exams; failure to pass one results in rejection of the entire nostrification application.
Although Act No. 188/2020 Coll., passed back in April, the heavily international community of the Anglo-American University has had little time to process the issue, when they were notified about it almost six months later. Some of the first emails making students aware of the regulation were distributed October 2nd, on the Friday of the second week of class. Emails have not stopped since and the number of students just finding out about their own nostrification issue continues growing. AAU administration representatives have explained that the Bureau of Accreditation only formally confirmed that Act No. 188/2020 Coll. applies to returning as well as newly-accepted students and that no kind of nostrification can be done by the university itself in September.
On Saturday, October 10th, AAU’s President, Štěpán Müller met with the Student Council and student volunteers to answer questions and generate solutions. During the following week, the AAU administration addressed the Ministry of Education in an official letter, requesting an extension of the nostrification deadline from 45 to 180 days after the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year. Students have been advised to discuss apparent inequality between different universities in their own letter to the Accreditation Bureau.
AAU administration has informed students that human error has been at play with the emails. Not every student who received the notorious email is required to apply for nostrification (in fact, most of those who received these emails by mistake have completed their nostrification before). Sadly, the opposite is also true, having not received the email will not solely save any student from their requirement. In order to avoid misinformation and panic, students who doubt whether or not they require nostrification are advised to get in touch with the Dean of Students or Student Services Center asap and ask that this information is checked with their personal file.
Accounts of new students indicate that the class of 2023 were at least partially notified about the infamous April regulation and the upcoming nostrification deadline. This information, however, was as well incomplete and did not reflect the full extent of the issue. Returning students, on the contrary, found themselves entirely blindsided by the lack of information about nostrification disclosed in April or at any point between then and October 2nd.
Students who started in the 2018-2019 academic year report that they were aware of the nostrification process during their first year, but were later (the following summer, by most accounts) told it was no longer a requirement. Several 3rd year students have since come out, claiming they were told their nostrification process was completed, however they are being subjected to it again now.
The class of 2020 — our expected February grads, with a thesis deadline of this week — appear to have been fully unaware of the term ‘nostrification’, at least in their majority. Many are forced to postpone their graduation, as the last resort to keep their student status and the opportunity to receive a Czech accredited university diploma.
With the November 5th deadline getting chillingly close, panic and misinformation are prevalent among affected students. Many are separating into groups and taking action into their own hands; lawyers have been consulted, students have held multiple meetings and written several letters to address the administration, some have taken to the social media.
Our own magazine’s name has been taken by one of these social media posts with reasonable concern, but unfortunate lack of factual evidence. We were not involved in the October 14th Facebook post, which inaccurately referenced Lennon Wall Magazine. We remain true to confirmed facts and aim to be a news source for the AAU community first and foremost.