Six Czech athletes, among them three Charles University students, took part in the Para-Olympics (the Olympic Games for the physically disabled), which took place from the 5th-15th of March 1998.
Our most successful representative was Katerina Tepla, a fourth-year student at the CU Philosophical Faculty, reading German and Finnish. She competed in the downhill ski events for the visually disabled in Category B 3. At Nagano she won three gold medals (in the super-giant slalom, the giant slalom and the slalom), and added a silver medal in the downhill to her golden hat-trick.
Miroslava Sedlackova, a third-year student at the CU Law Faculty, competed in the cross-country ski events for visually disabled athletes in Category B 2, i.e. with residual sight. She came 10th in the first event (5 km classic race), 11th in the 5 km free race and 14th in the 15 km classic race.
Jan Dostal, a second-year student of sports training at the CU Faculty of Physical Education, competed at Nagano in the down-hill skiing for the physically disabled (Diagnosis: amputation of lower limbs above the knee). In the first downhill race in Category LW 4, he came 20th, in the slalom he reached 13th place and the the super-giant slalom he was 14th.
After their arrival at Ruzyne Airport, President Vaclav Havel personally presented all the athletes with commemorative medals.
Our most successful representative Katerina Tepla with her father, who is also her trainer and route-guide.
The Jan Palach Prize for the best diploma dissertation by a student of the CU Philosophical Faculty, was awarded for the second time on the 5th of March 1998 in the course of a meeting of the Philosophical Faculty Research Board. The Award Committee selected two out of the six nominated dissertations for the Jan Palach Prize. The first of these, "Die ersten tschechischen Germanisten an der Prager Universitat nach ihrer Teilung 1882" by Lenka Pokorna, a student of the Department of German, Dutch and Scandinavian Studies, was concerned with the beginnings of German studies at Charles University. The second prize was awarded to the dissertation "The Melodic Contrast Determining Questions and Incomplete Statements in Three-syllable Beats" by Jitka Janikova, a student of phonetics and Czech. Both prizes (which include a monetary reward), were presented by the Dean of the Philosophical Faculty PhDr. Frantisek Vrhel, CSc. (in our photo Jitka Janikova is receiving her prize). The administrator of the Jan Palach Prize, Jan Boris Uhlir, gave a short introductory address in which he stressed that this was the only student prize open to all departments of the faculty. "In these days," he concluded, "when we are celebrating the 650th anniversary of our university, we should not forget the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Jan Palach. He was a student who in the battle against lethargy and faint-heartedness gave the most precious thing he had, his life."
On the 6th of April 1998, the Indonesian Ambassador Leonard Tobing visited the Indological Institute of the CU Philosophical Faculty to present teachers and students with a donation: the nineteen-volume National Indonesian Encyclopaedia. Leonard Tobing was greeted by students of the Institute, its Director Prof. PhDr. Jaroslav Vacek, CSc,. lecturer Ing. Zorica Dubovska and PhDr. Zdenek Zboril from the CU Institute of Political Studies. All present expressed there delight at the gift of a book which contributes to the understanding of many aspects of Indonesia and the study of Indonesian language, geography, history and culture. Leonard Tobing enjoyed a very lively discussion with his hosts, in which topics included the teaching of Indonesian and scholarships abroad. Conversation was all the easier, since His Excellency is a graduate of CU and speaks excellent Czech.
The Indonesian ambassador Leonard Tobing presents his gift to students of the CU Indological Institute of the Philosophical Faculty.
In September 1996, the 3rd Medical Faculty "jumped in at the deep-end" with a new curriculum, which has now been running for nearly two years. Those who initiated the change believed that any difficulties with the introduction of the new curriculum could be overcome by modifications and direct feedback once the system was in operation, rather than by endless prior theoretical discussion of potential complications.
After a year and a half's experience, it is clear that the main problem lies in the engrained habits of thought and teaching style of teachers of the middle and older generation, some of whom are incapable of understanding the ideas behind the curriculum and are de facto actively or passively sabotaging it. In contrast, the problems that had been anticipated earlier (transfer between faculties, international compatibility etc.) are proving easier to solve than it might appear. Even classical faculties differ, and the development of principles of equivalence in the assessment of forms of study has become a commonplace, so that while medical faculties in different countries may have diametrically opposite approaches, this does not cause problems for their graduates etc.
The new curriculum is involving a change from mass teaching (church-like) to a more individual approach, which should ideally entail the transmission of knowledge and skill from teacher to pupil in a form reminiscent of teaching in the arts ("ars medicina"). Problems linked with the introduction of the new curriculum led the leaders of the CU 3rd Medical Faculty, chiefly the current faculty dean (Prof. MUDr. Michal Andel, CSc.) and the former dean (Prof. MUDr. Cyril Hoschl, DrSc.) to organize a conference on the whole question. It took place, under the aegis of the Minister of Education Jiri Grusa and the CU Rector Prof. JUDr. Karel Maly and in the framework of the university jubilee celebrations, on the 9th-10th of January 1998 at the CU 3rd Medical Faculty and it was arranged jointly with a private clinic, the Prague Hospital of General Health Care Corporation. The importance of the conference theme was clear from the names of those who helped to prepare it or made an active contribution to proceedings. These included Arie Kruseman, Rector of the University of Maastricht since January 1998, Prof. Hans Sonntag, Dean of one of the most famous medical faculties - at Heidelberg University, Erling Norrby, former Dean of the Medical Faculty of the Karolinska Institute and General Secretary of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences (an institution which takes part in the award of Nobel Prizes), Prof. Norman Sartorius, President of the World Psychiatric Association and Professor at Medical Faculties in Geneva and Prague, Prof. David Hill who is introducing practical problem-oriented teaching in Sydney (Australia), Prof. Hans Ludwig from Switzerland and many others.