The Coordination Body’s Office is committed to the development and accessibility of higher education in South Serbia. In order to satisfy the needs of the citizens of the three municipalities for continuing education, the Faculties in Nis and Subotica and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, with the support of the Coordination Body’s Office, and in cooperation with the local self-governments, firstly opened the Departments of Nis University’s Faculties of Law and Economics in Medvedja, followed by the Department of Novi Sad University’s Faculty of Economics in Bujanovac. The study profiles of the opened departments were defined in accordance with the expressed needs of the citizens of these municipalities and their ability to find a job, with the cooperation and support of the local self-governments and other important factors.
Departments of the Economics and Law Faculties of the University of Nis in Medvedja
Departments of the Economics and Law Faculties of the University of Nis were opened in Medvedja in October 2009. Students from the Albanian community have their classes by having their lecures simultaneously interpreted into Albanian. It was made possible for them to take all the tests in their native language, while the Coordination Body's Office provided the translation of all the textbooks into the Albanian language.
The Coordination Body's Office enabled the printing of the first Serbian-Albanian Law Lexicon, which is of great helpl to students of the Law Faculty in Medveda in overcoming legal terms.
The Coordination Body's Office gave one-time scholarships of 7,000 dinars twice per year to the students of the two departments that enrolled in the next academic year.
Five generations of students have been enrolled in these two departments since the departments were established.
Feasibility Study on the Development of Higher Education in Presevo and Bujanovac
The feasibility study is the result of the "Reform of the Education Policy in South Serbia", aimed at analyzing the educational system in the Republic of Serbia, with consideration of the comparative experiences from the region. The study predicted the possible scenarios of development of higher education in Bujanovac and Presevo, stressing that it should take place within the institutional framework of the Republic of Serbia, preferably within the existing institutions of higher education in the country.
The final version of the study was preceded by two public discussions in Bujanovac and Belgrade, during which the preliminary conclusions were presented. In the discussion in which with the mayors of the three municipalities, MP Riza Halimi and Presidents of the Municipal Assemblies of Presevo and Bujanovac participated, the constructive remarks on some of the conclusions of the study were presented, but the majority view was that the study was a step in the right direction.
One of the recommendations of the study was the establishment of a working group that would be engaged in the work on the opening of higher education institutions in Bujanovac and Presevo.
Development of the study was initiated and financially, logistically and professionally helped by the Coordination Body's Office, with the support of the British Embassy, the Open Society Institute and the Balkan Trust for Democracy.
Feasibility study can be downloaded here.
Department of Subotica Faculty of Economics in Bujanovac
Pursuant to the recommendations of the Feasibility Study, Minister of Education and Science formed, in 2010, a working group for addressing the issues in the field of higher education in Bujanovac and Presevo. The working group consisted of representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science, the Coordination Body's Office, the Albanian National Council, a national expert on higher education and representatives of the Office of the High Commissioner for National Minorities from the Hague (OSCE).
Based on the recommendations of the working group, Subotica Faculty of Economics of the University of Novi Sad opened its department in Bujanovac in October 2011. Teaching at the department is conducted in two languages: students from the Serbian and Roma communities are taught in Serbian, while students from the Albanian community attend classes in Albanian. The Faculty of Economics in Subotica signed a cooperation agreement with the Faculty of Economics of the State University in Tetovo (Republic of Macedonia), so that classes in the Albanian language are held by professors and teaching assistants from Tetovo. The curriculum makes it possible for the Albanian students to attend classes in 14 out of 32 subjects in their native language and to do their diploma paper in Albanian, too. The Coordination Body's Office provided a translation of the textbooks for all the subjects into Albanian. Students study in accordance with an accredited marketing program, while two more departments are expected to receive accreditation: finance, banking and insurance, agro-economics and agribusiness.
Two coordinators are constantly available to the students for any questions during their studies, both to the students who attend classes in Serbian and to those who attend classes in Albanian.
Providing and maintaining a high quality of teaching at this institution of higher education is one of the priorities of all the stakeholders that support the development of higher education in South Serbia. Therefore, at the proposal of the Office of the High Commissioner for National Minorities, the Committee of Interested Parties was set up, whose task is to give recommendations for the purpose of achieving the above objective. This body is composed of representatives of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, the Coordination Body, the Faculty of Economics in Subotica, the municipality of Bujanovac, the Albanian National Council, the OSCE Mission to Serbia, the Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia and the Group of Friends of South Serbia.
Achieving the conditions for the further operation of this institution of higher education is of strategic interest. The most important project for achieving this goal is the construction of the building of the department in Bujanovac. The European Partnership with Municipalities Program (EU Progress) is responsible for conducting the analysis, which will provide guidance for further work on the improvement of higher education in Bujanovac.
Scholarships for Young People to Study at the University of Novi Sad
The Coordination Body's Office has been providing scholarships to young people from the municipalities of Presevo and Bujanovac who wish to study at the University of Novi Sad's faculties since 2011. Eligibile for the scholarship are young people from the two municipalities who are aged from 18 to 22 and who had excellent or very good school marks.
23 young people from Bujanovac and Presevo applied for scholarships during the first year of implementation of the scholarship program. The commission for awarding scholarships selected 13 young people from the two municipalities, out of whom 6 were from the Serbian and 7 from the Albanian community. 11 candidates passed the entrance exam – 6 from the Serbian community and 5 from the Albanian one. In 2012, the commission selected 21 out of the total of 46 candidates, out of whom 11 of them were Albanian candidates. 21 candidates passed the entrance exam - 10 from the Serbian community and 11 from the Albanian one. In 2013, 52 candidates applied for scholarships. 12 candidates passed the entrance exam - 6 from the Serbian community, 5 from the Albanian community and 1 from the Roma community.
Every year, the Coordination Body's Office organizes courses in the Serbian language for all candidates from the Albanian community whose native language isn't Serbian, to make it easier for them to pass the enterance exam.
By providing scholarships for the youth from the multiethnic municipalities in South Serbia, a new step in the implementation of the program of the Government of the Republic of Serbia for their further integration into the social life of the country was made.
The project is implemented with the support of the Government of the AP (Autonomous Province) of Vojvodina, the Provincial Department of Education, Administration and National Communities and the University of Novi Sad. This initiative of the Coordination Body was supported by the Ministry of Education and Science.