“The Slovenian Language Possesses a Safe Position within the System of Higher Education,” Rector of the University of Nova Gorica Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik
The representatives of the academic environment and the general public have recently started a heated discussion concerning the new draft of the Higher Education Act, which focuses on the international cooperation between universities. In this regard, there is a fear that the Slovenian language will leave the educational process in favour of English, which ultimately threatens the official status of the former. “As compared to the old times, today the Slovenian language possesses an objectively safe position,” Prof. Dr. Danilo Zavrtanik, Rector of the University of Nova Gorica (UNG), claims. He explains that it would be reasonable to intensify more the liberalization of the English language in the university, since it will bring higher world recognition to the university and Slovenia. A doctoral thesis written in English will introduce Slovenian science to the whole world without limiting the categories of readers. Danilo Zavrtanik notes that while being a scientist and a Slovene, he has two native languages: Slovenian—the language of his parents, and English, which makes him feel comfortable within the international scientific environment. However, the linguists must ensure that the professional vocabulary of the Slovenian language would expand along with the development of science.
Professor Zavrtanik, a physicist, a well-known specialist within the international scientific environment, and now the Rector of the University of Nova Gorica is committed to the internationalization of the university in various fields. His personal scientific career was connected with Slovenia, the USA, Great Britain, Switzerland, and other countries. The profound research experience and many years of teaching enable Danilo Zavrtanik to possess his personal deep and unbiased opinion on various issues and assess them critically.
The scientists of the University of Nova Gorica have recently surprised the experts with innovative research in the field of organic electronics, and placed their Alma Mater within the world’s leading research centres. Together with German and French colleagues, they came to the conclusion that a precisely matched combination of a semiconducting polymer and light-sensitive molecules allows the production of a highly efficient optical memory cell, which can record or delete data with light. The discovery is expected to have great practical value, but Professor Zavrtanik is very sceptical in its evaluation. He thinks that there are no industries in Slovenia, which would be interested in organic semiconductors. Therefore, he believes that the Slovenes will not benefit from this discovery, while France and Germany will benefit a lot.