"We do not have enough research on higher education. This is exactly the reason why the project ‘European integration of higher education in the Western Balkans’ is extremely important for the academic community,”. These were the words with which Prof. Ilija Vujačić, Dean of the Faculty of Political Science opened the promotion of the book The Re-Institutionalization of Higher Education in the Western Balkans. The Interplay between European Ideas, Domestic Policies, and Institutional Practices, which was held at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade on April 22 2015.
Next to the Prof. Dr. Ilija Vujačić, the speakers at the promotion were Prof. Dr Nada Kovačević, Vice-Rector of the University of Belgrade, Dr. Martina Vukasović, researcher at the Centre for Higher Education Governance Ghent, Ghent University, and one of the book editors, and Doc. Dr Maja Kovačević, from the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade, one of the book editors.
Prof. Dr. Nada Kovačević, Vice-Rector of the University of Belgrade, pointed out that the region generally does not have well-established practice of collecting and storing data and she underlined the importance of such research for the development of higher education.
“There are many people who want to research higher education in the region, but unfortunately, they do not have adequate organizational support. Through this project, we have managed to form a network, and thus connect all interested researchers,“ said Dr. Marina Vukasović from the Centre Higher Education Governance Ghent at the Ghent University. She stressed that the book is only one of the project results, and the one which particularly focuses on the Bologna Process and the impact of European integration on the higher education systems in the Western Balkans. “The European Union does not impose strict requirements, yet future members are offered recommendations which they should adhere to when embarking on higher education reforms. It is essential that the new reforms are line with European standards,” concluded Vukasović.
Doc. Dr. Maja Kovačević, one of the editors of the book, pointed out that so far it has been particularly difficult to accurately portray the state of higher education in the region. The successful completion of this project created the conditions for further research in various areas of education policy. “It is indisputable that we are reforming our systems, yet our reforms are full of internal contradictions. We have to face the fact that it will take many years to bring reforms to the end,” said Kovačević.
The book in Serbian can be downloaded here.
The book page at Peter Lang Publishers website.
You can read more about the event at the website of the Faculty of Political Science.