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Slovenia’s new government and new education minister

In February, Slovenia’s parliament gave its vote of confidence to the new government led by the Prime Minister Janez Janša. The new head of the executive, who had already served as Slovenia’s prime minister in 2004-2008, was elected for his second term on 28 January 2012. The new cabinet’s first priority is to lead the country out of the current economic crisis, and the reduction in the number of ministerial portfolios to a total of thirteen, including the prime minister, can probably be regarded as the first step in this direction. The changes in the government structure also affect the field of higher education. One single Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport has been created in place of three others that used to cover respectively the issues of culture; higher education, science and technology; and sport. The new Minister, Dr. Žiga Turk, is a renowned researcher, inventor, administrator, columnist and editor of scientific journals. Born in 1962, he holds a B.Sc. in civil engineering, M.Sc. in computer science and Ph.D. in technical sciences. Prior to his new assignment, he was a professor and chair in construction informatics at the University of Ljubljana. Turk has extensive public administration experience gained at the national and European level. In 2007-2008, he was a Minister for Growth in the Slovenian government, national coordinator for the Lisbon Strategy, chief negotiator for the Slovenia's accession to the OECD, chairman of the national Sustainable Development Council and the Competitiveness Council. His other ‘hats’ in the past have included Chairman of the supervisory boards of Telekom Slovenia and Mobitel; member of the Reform Council; and Vice Chair of the Strategic Council for Culture, Education and Science. In 2008-2010, Turk served as Secretary General of the Reflection Group on the Future of Europe, chaired by Felipe Gonzales. Finally, he was part of the external expert panel that carried out an interim evaluation of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme in the area of ICT, and chaired a high level group on the future evolution of European academic networking. Slovenian government Dr. Žiga Turk