Higher education in Montenegro

 

The higher education system in Montenegro

Recent policy updates, major reforms and related news

Relevant projects and initiatives

TAMs and SPHERE seminars organised in 2016 and 2017

Relevant links

 

The higher education system in Montenegro

In Montenegro, higher education can be obtained at the University of Montenegro, two private universities (University Mediteran and University Donja Gorica), nine independent private faculties and one independent public faculty. Educational activities at higher education institutions are carried out through academic and applied study programmes, as well as through various professional development and training programmes. Study programmes are organized at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level.

Public and private HE institutions are covered by the same Law on Higher Education, which was adopted in October 14, 2014 by the Assembly of Montenegro. The reform of higher education observing the principles of the Bologna Declaration was initiated by the Law on Higher Education, adopted in October 2003. At the time of adopting the 2003 Law on Higher Education there was only one university in Montenegro (University of Montenegro), whereas at present there are also three private universities, three independent private faculties and one independent public faculty. The total number of students is about 26,000, which represents a significant increase compared to the number of students ten years ago.

Law on Higher Education regulates the fundamentals of higher education, requirements for conducting the activities, types of study programmes, organisation principles of institutions conducting this activity, rights and obligations of academic staff and students, quality assurance, financing of higher education, as well as other matters significant for the performance of higher education activities. 

Quality Assurance of higher education is also regulated by the Law on Higher Education. For improving the higher education area, the government appointed the Council for Higher Education. The Council is responsible for achieving high quality of higher education in Montenegro and for assisting the HEIs in improving and sustaining the quality of their activities. In accordance with the HE Law, improvement and development of higher education is conducted by Council for Higher Education.

Within the Project “Higher Education and Research for Innovation and Competitiveness” financed by a World Bank loan, external evaluation of all higher education institutions has been carried out by European University Association experts (EUA). The external evaluation of higher education institutions resulted in individual reports of institutions, already available to the public, and integrated in the report on the quality of higher education system in Montenegro.

In order to continuously enhance quality, the Centre for Studies and Quality Control has been established at the University of Montenegro in 2008, supported by WUS Austria and IPA 2007 funds. As of recently, the Ministry has started an initiative to establish a Quality Assurance agency that will be a totally independent professional body in charge of accreditation, and will conduct follow up of all HEIs in Montenegro.

 

Recent policy updates, major reforms and related news

  • Ongoing amendments and changes to the Law on Higher Education are underway. These aim to improve the quality of higher education and the creation of competitive human resources in the European market. The main foreseen amendments and changes relate to the following:
  • The establishment of  the Agency for Quality of Higher Education, which will, among other things, instead of the Council for Higher Education conduct accreditation and re-accreditation or external evaluation of higher education institutions;
  • The Public institution and the government will conclude the Agreement on Financing, which regulates mutual rights and obligations, for the realization of study programs;
  • Students of the first and second cycle of studies in public institutions will not pay study fees, while students of the third study cycle will pay fees;
  • A new structure of study programs 3 + 2 + 3, instead of current 3+1+1+3, except for the regulated professions;
  • The diplomas in the field of regulated professions will be acquired in accordance with the relevant EU Directive.
  • The Government of Montenegro adopted the Strategy for Development of Higher Education in Montenegro (2016–2020), together with its Action plan. The rationale behind the Strategy is to define the new strategic framework in the HE field that will respond to societal needs and inputs coming from the EHEA. Key reforms relate to the changes of the HE structure and its financing model, aiming to improve both teaching and research.
  • The Parliament of Montenegro adopted changes and amendments of the Law on Recognition of Foreign Educational Certificates and Equivalence of Qualifications (Official Gazette of Montenegro, 57/11 i 42/16), that further stipulates authorities of ministries, HEIs, and schools in the recognition process procedure.
  • The Parliament of Montenegro adopted a Law on Youth (Official Gazette of Montenegro 42/16). This is the first law defining the legal framework in the field of youth. The law aims to contribute to the improvement of the position of young people and their role in creation of youth policy. 
  • The Parliament of Montenegro adopted changes and amendments of the Law on National  Vocational Qualifications (Official Gazette of Montenegro 80/08, 14/09, 80/10, 40/11 i 40/16), aiming at further development of lifelong learning, linking of formal and informal education, recognition of informal and non-formal education, and previously acquired knowledge, enabling the visibility of qualifications that individuals possess, thus facilitating their employment perspectives and better positioning at the labour market, as well as further fostering mobility.
  • The programme of professional training of persons with previously acquired higher education is realized by the Government of Montenegro for the fifth consecutive year. During this period more than 15 000 graduates have been professionally trained by the selected employers.

 

Relevant projects and initiatives

In the period 2001-2014, 64 Tempus projects were funded, with more than 10 million euros invested in reforms and modernization of higher education in Montenegro. HEIs from Montenegro are currently involved in 9 Erasmus+ CBHE projects. The projects cover various fields, such as library support services, inclusion of students with disabilities, HE research potential, reform of legal studies at the University of Montenegro, study programmes in public health law, fostering practical entrepreneurship skills in engineering and ICT studies, development of study programmes in tourism etc.

Some of the TEMPUS projects surpassed the benefits of the higher education modernization, having benefits also at societal level, which is the case with modernized study programmes in the field of regulated professions that also impacted European integration process in Montenegro.

The current Erasmus + project Tran2Work is considering the issue of students with disabilities and their further employment perspectives. Therefore, apart from impact at institutional level, Tempus and Erasmus + projects have had impact at the level of overall society, stimulating positive societal changes.

Universities from Montenegro have been also participating in structural IPA projects (Cross Border, MED, SEE), collaborative FP7 projects, as well as several FP7 CSA projects. All three HEIs took part in WB loan project “Higher Education and Research for Innovation and Competitiveness (HERIC)”, aimed at  strengthening the quality and relevance of higher education and research in Montenegro through reforming the higher education finance and quality assurance systems.

Speaking about mobility projects, so far 19 Erasmus Mundus partnerships mobility projects have been financed from 2008-2014, which implied mobility at all levels with various universities from EU countries, the most recent being Italy, Germany, Spain, Slovenia, Austria, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, etc.. Within the Erasmus+ International Credit mobility action, 104 mobility projects have been selected in 2015-2016, with total grant of 2,5 million Euro for students’ and staff mobility.

All the projects financed, be it through Tempus, Erasmus + or other donors, were a reflection of strategic goals in the higher education field.  Inter-project collaboration and exchange have been taking place between a range of similar projects, which was for instance the case with some Tempus projects and WB loan project HERIC, especially related to the learning outcomes approach, development of tracking study. It is now obligatory for all HEIs to perform an analysis of the labour market and employability of their graduates once every 5 years, which goes in line with the activities and outcomes of both projects.

 

TAMs and SPHERE seminars organised in 2016 and 2017

HERE seminar “Modularization of curriculum”

http://www.neomontenegro.ac.me/t.php?id=86&l=en

HERE Seminar “Internationalization of Higher Education”

http://www.neomontenegro.ac.me/t.php?id=86&l=en

 

As for 2017, there are two TAMs planned. One is regional TAM „A magic triangle of Higher Education in Western Balkan region“, to be held in September 25-26, 2017 in Montenegro. The other TAM planned is related to the recognition of prior learning and will be held at the end of 2017.

 

Relevant links

 

HERE section of NEO website http://www.neomontenegro.ac.me/t.php?id=71&l=en

List of HEREs on NEO website http://www.neomontenegro.ac.me/t.php?id=72&l=en

HERE event pages http://www.neomontenegro.ac.me/t.php?id=86&l=en

Erasmus+ CBHE projects in Montenegro http://www.neomontenegro.ac.me/t.php?id=94&l=mn

Ministry of Education http://www.mps.gov.me

Council for Higher Education http://www.svo.gov.me

University of Montenegro http://www.ucg.ac.me/

University Mediterranean http://unimediteran.net/index.php/mne/  

University Donja Gorica http://www.udg.edu.me/