Public debate on the draft Education strategy until 2030

March 2, 2021

After consultations with the professional public on the draft Strategy for Education until 2030, which were held last year, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development organized two online public hearings on the draft Strategy. The discussion held on March 2 was opened by the Head of the European Union Delegation to Serbia, Ambassador Sam Fabrizi and the Minister of Education Branko Ruzic, and the participants' questions were answered by representatives of relevant sectors of the Ministry and institutions dealing with education.

Welcoming the participants in the public debate, Ambassador Fabrizi emphasized the importance of the new strategic document, as one of the most important that should contribute to the socio-economic development of Serbia in the next decade. The Head of the EU Delegation stated that education should pave the way for the fulfillment of the personal and professional achievements of every citizen, but also to promote democratic values, equality, social cohesion and intercultural dialogue.

"The EU Delegation is proud of the cooperation with the Ministry and other organizations and happy for the support it provides through IPA projects, so that Serbia can develop its vision of education for the next decade. This is also important because of the process of Serbia's accession to the European Union. At the same time, the European Union is developing its own Education and Training Strategy, and it is very important that the Education Strategy in Serbia takes into account what is happening in the EU in that area, "said Ambassador Fabrizi.

Presenting the draft Strategy, Minister Ruzic thanked the European Union for the support in the reform of the education system and said that the Strategy is a clear indicator of the state's attitude towards the importance of the system for social development, but also the continuity of reforms. The Minister pointed out several important goals that are included in the strategic document - to increase the number of children in education at all levels, decrease drop out of vulnerable groups from educational systems, better student achievement, better program and better support for teachers. He also mentioned the use of modern techniques and tools, a better connection between education and the market, but also life in general.

"Research shows that teaching students is based on competencies, investing primarily in their future and the future of the country's economy, because the relevance of such learning is put in the foreground of everyday life. The new standards will be the starting point for the development of new curricula, and will also contribute to reducing the mismatch between the skills needed on the labor market and educational results, "the Minister explained.

The draft Strategy also emphasized the importance of continuous support to teachers in understanding new standards and implementing new programs.

"Through new and innovated standards, we will answer the questions of what are the key knowledge and competencies and how we can incorporate them into the system through educational standards to make them even more noticeable and applicable." What represents an innovation in the strategy until 2030 is that the revised standards will define not only the subject knowledge, but also the way of learning, and above all the applied knowledge in the personal lives of students ", explained Gordana Čaprić, Deputy Director of the Institute for Improving the Quality of Education.

State Secretary Anamarija Vicek, in charge of inclusive education, explained that one of the important innovations planned for the next ten years is the introduction of pedagogical assistants in the system that should provide support to children with disabilities.

Answering questions about the need and justification of dual education, Assistant Minister for this area Gabriela Grujić stated that since the introduction of this form of secondary education in secondary schools, there have been 10,000 students and 900 companies in the system.

"From this year, students can apply for this type of education through work, and the Strategy provides for evaluation, in order to conclude how dual education is sustainable, whether employability is increasing and whether there are positive effects on the competitiveness of the economy.", said Grujic.

One of the important aspects of the Strategy is the introduction of quality indicators of higher education institutions, so that a realistic assessment can be made of where our higher education is located in the European and world framework.

"It is important to connect with the market, on which there is a special focus, in order to show through the introduced quality indicators which higher education institutions have a better perspective, which study programs need to be updated and the like, of course with respect to higher education institutions," explained Assistant Minister for higher education, Željko Tubić.

Speaking about the process of drafting the strategy, State Secretary Anamarija Vicek emphasized the significant contribution of the European Union through the project "EU Support for Education Reform in Serbia - REdiS 2030". This once again confirmed the support for the reform of the education sector in Serbia, for which the European Union has so far donated around 100 million EUR. The next public hearing is scheduled is for March 8 live, with respect to all protection and prevention measures.

Recognizing the importance of education in addressing social and economic challenges, the European Union is supporting Serbia in implementing education reform. The 2.7mil. EUR REdiS 2030 project is part of the Education Sector Reform Agreement, worth 24 million EUR, which supports the provision of quality educational opportunities, in line with labour market needs.

The European Union, as the largest donor in Serbia, supports the modernization of the education system and harmonization with the standards and practices of EU countries. Since 2003, the EU has donated more than 100 million euros for the reform of the education sector - for the improvement of preschool education, the reform of secondary vocational education and adult education, the renovation and equipment of schools and colleges, support for inclusive education, etc. The support of the European Union is implemented in cooperation with the Government of Serbia.