March 7, 2022

With the academic 2021/22 year, the realization of the first study programmes according to the dual model of studies in higher education began. The fact that there is already significant interest in such a study model is evidenced by 32 accredited study programs at 9 higher education institutions, as well as 75 accredited companies involved in this learning through work study model, said Assistant Minister for Dual Education Gabrijela Grujic at a meeting with journalists that was organized with the support of the Redis 2030 project.

Two years after the adoption of the Law on the Dual Model of Studies, the conditions for the implementation of that model have been met, and so learning through work, which is already successfully applied at the secondary education level, is now available at the next educational level. Thus, it is possible for students in different fields of work and activities, to master the necessary knowledge and skills in accordance with their affinities and to integrate into the economic system. "We have determined by law that the process of learning through work is part of the study program, carries a certain number of ESP points, so that students who study according to the dual model will receive, along with a degree, a significant reference that speaks best about their work experience," says Gabrijela Grujic and adds that this has ensured and confirmed the quality of education and the evaluation of their knowledge.

Assistant Minister for International Cooperation and European Integration Aleksandar Jovic explained how the law is adjusted to the dual model of education and stressed that the interest of the economy in this model of study is significant and shows that the need for introducing a dual model of study is well assessed. "Young people who study in this way will be paid 50% of the basic fee for work in that job, which is compatible with the choice of their study program," Jovic explained, once again dismissing doubts that the dual education model is a way for employers to find cheap labour force.

In a conversation with journalists, the representatives of the Ministry also referred to the results so far of the implementation of the dual model at the level of secondary education. According to them, ten thousand students are educated through the dual model in secondary education, of which two thousand have already finished school, and 150 high schools with 54 accredited programmes and about 800 companies are included. "All this shows that the model of dual education has come to life as a need of a modern society and that it is now being upgraded through the system of higher education, ensuring quality," said Assistant Minister Jović.

One of the schools that participates in dual education and can boast of the success of the application of this learning model is the Technical School Pirot. According to the words of the Director Milan Božić, an increasing number of students want to study according to this model, and the interest of the economy from the beginning exceeded all expectations. "The reason is that there is not enough educated labour force on the labour market, and the dual model is one of the ways to overcome that gap and for the economy to provide itself with a quality labour force, participating in their education," Bozic said.

However, there are also those who perform various jobs during many years, possess knowledge and skills for that, but have not acquired qualifications. Recently, there is a solution for them as well - recognition of previous learning. This procedure implies the acquisition of certificates that would confirm their professional competencies acquired through various types of training, life and work experience. The project, through which the European Union supported piloting of the process of recognizing prior learning, involved 32 schools. During the conversation with the journalists, the representatives of the Ministry emphasised that the certificate of professional competencies is not the same as the diploma obtained in the education system.

"Recognition of prior learning is intended for adults without a degree, to assess the experience gained through various types of training, life and work experience and to obtain a certificate of acquired competencies or a certificate confirming the acquired qualification," explained Iso Planic, Director of the Polytechnic School of Subotica, one of the institutions accredited for the procedure of recognition of prior learning. He also presented what the path to obtaining a certificate looks like and emphasised that in every accredited institution there are advisors who will guide everyone interested through a procedure at the end of which is a document that will allow people without formal education to compete in the labour market. Certificates on recognition of previous learning issued by accredited institutions are also recognized abroad, it was emphasised at the meeting.