At the beginning of the meeting, the Board was informed by the president about massive cyber-attacks that German educational institutions have suffered. His institution, the library in the city of Kiel was one of the attacked institutions. We also share such experience with cyber-attacks in RNM which caused many problems for different institutions. A general recommendation is that the University should make sure that it can successfully deal or protect itself from such devastating attacks.
The meeting continued with the presentation of the Progress report by the rector. In regard to the HE context although there was an initiative to change the HE law it has not been changed. At a University level there have been quite a few developments. One of the most important is that for the first time since 2001 the salaries of all F-T staff have been raised since last January. According to Webometrics the University continues to hold the same rank as the third university in RNM. The average attendance of students for the current semester is 73,6%. The University has continued with new accreditations such as Polytechnics, Interior design and Social sciences. With an intention of rejuvenating the academic staff we are continuing to target young talented researchers with experience abroad, with an intention to recruit them. The new Call for students has been published and we expect to have qualitative applicants taken into account the reputation of the institution and the scholarships we offer. Within this AY we have had 189 research publications which is a qualitative step ahead. In the aspect of mobility the University has had an increased number of incoming students and staff. The project participation of staff is going very well. Currently we have 25 projects active with a budget of 725 K € for SEEU. Investments are also going as planned. The procurement of the data center is under realization with a cost of 192 K€. Another major investment is the procurement of 350 desktops at a cost f 250 K€. Yet another investment is the building of a solar panel plant with a capacity of 330 KWh which is in the phase of receiving a license by the Municipality. Board members were pleased to hear that the progress we are making is exceeding the planned objectives in many areas.
In the following item, the rector presented the realization progress of the university budget for the current academic year, for the period 1 September 2022 – 31 May 2023. Total operating budget incomes realized for this period amount to €4,401,200.- which represent a realization of 77, 79% of the planned budget. Total operating budget expenditures realized amount to €3,967,795.- which represent a realization of 71,90% of planned budget. The realized Budget surplus is €433,405.-, a considerable improvement when compared to the planned budget surplus which was €139,256.-. The cash situation of the University is also improving. Comparison of the month of May in 2022 and 2023 shows this year cash amounts to €5,084,789.- compared to the cash in May 2022 which was €4,835,708.-. The budget progress was noted and the University management was commended for the prudent cash management.
In continuation of the meeting the president presented the 2022 fiscal year audit report of the external auditors RSM Makedonija. The audit report presents that the University financial statements have been compiled completely in accordance with the accounting principles. The audit report was approved unanimously.
The next item discussed was the Budget proposal for the new academic year 2023/2024. The new budget follows a conservative line in the part of incomes while at the same time allowing for investments and a development dimension of the institution. Total budget incomes for AY2023/24 are planned at €5,982,539.- whereas total budget expenses are forecasted at €6,175,956.- predicting a deficit of €193,417.- as a result of capital investment s in amount of 580 K € planed in the next fiscal year . The Board unanimously approved the new University budget for AY 2023/2024.
In addition to the issues above, the Board agreed that the University enters into co-founder agreements with Pollog municipalities in regard to the formation of iCan foundation in Gostivar and iCare center in Tetovo.
The next meeting of the Board is expected to be held on 17 November when the University will be celebrating the 22 nd anniversary.