“The Line Ministry and the Government of the Republic of Srpska adjusted proposals of public higher education institutions for the number of students enrolled in study programs which educate staff with strong surplus on the labor market and they decided that these students will not be financed from the budget of the Republic of Srpska. Students that still want to attend these study programs will be able to do so but they will have to pay a certain amount of money for the enrollment”, said Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska Dr. Dane Malešević.
He pointed out that the Government still had a duty to finance gross salaries for staff employed in higher education institutions which is not a small amount of money.
“Considering the fact that several university departments place different untruths and that some of them expressed their resistance and disagreement regarding the Government’s decision, I have to point out that we did not abolish any study program but we decided not to finance students enrolled in surplus study programs”, said Malešević.
According to him, the number of graduates in the field of social and humanistic sciences is increasing, while the number of graduates in the field of natural sciences is decreasing and these are exactly people who can constitute a driving force of economic and social development of the Republic of Srpska.
“The main goal of the admission policy is to increase the number of students enrolled in natural sciences, engineering and technology departments because after graduating from there they will be able to find a job more quickly. I think that young people will want to stay in the Republic of Srpska if we give them a chance to find a job and lead a very decent life after graduating”, said Malešević.
In the following academic year, the Government will not finance students enrolling in the first year of the first cycle studies in the following study programs: geography, ecology and environmental protection, journalism and communications, political science, and sport at Banja Luka University, as well as physical education, vocal and instrumental, musical and pedagogical theory, journalism, and geography at Istočno Sarajevo university.
Also, students enrolling in the first year of post-secondary medical school in Prijedor will not be financed from the budget of the Republic of Srpska.
The number of students financed from the budget who study at study programs in the field of law and economics is reduced considering that these are surplus professions on the labor market.
The Minister said that the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Government have taken corrective measures and acted continuously to decrease the number of unemployed people from certain professions by harmonizing admission policies with the needs of the labor market.
Malešević pointed out that this was the reason why the number of students enrolled in study programs in the field of mathematics and physics at the department of sciences at Banja Luka university and the department of philosophy at Istočno Sarajevo university has been decreased in the category budget in relation to the proposal of the university, as these professions are deficient.
He says that the Republic of Srpska allocates 62 million BAM per year for financing public higher education institutions, that the help for deficient professions has been awarded since 2008/2009 and that this year 2 million BAM is planned to be spent on student grants.
He also pointed out that tuition fees in our public higher education institutions are the lowest in the region and that these fees as well as the price of food and accommodation in student dorms have not changed since 2007.
He added that the Line Ministry and the Government of the Republic of Srpska co-finance not only tuition fees but also accommodation and food expenses in student dorms in the total amount of 5 BAM a student per day.
“Thanks to that, our students have the lowest food and accommodation expenses in the whole region and 4.3 million BAM a year is allocated for these purposes”, says Malešević.
According to his words, all this shows that the Line Ministry and the Government truly take care of students by securing the least expensive conditions of studying and high quality education.
“However, we must think long term and when creating the admission policy we need to take into consideration the data from the labor market, because that is the only way to increase the number of employed people in the Republic of Srpska. In that sense, we will not be discouraged by the untruths, resistance and disagreement by certain university departments as we know that these measures will give positive results despite seeming rigorous at the moment“, said the Minister.
Based on the proposal of public higher education institutions, the Ministry of Education and Culture is preparing a proposal of the decision on the number of full-time and part-time students enrolling in the first year of the first and the second cycle of studies at public higher education institutions. The final decision on the enrollment of students will be made by the Government of the Republic of Srpska.
When creating the admission policy, the Ministry will take into consideration strategic aims of education, data from the employment agency, data on the number of students enrolled in certain study programs, the number of students finishing four-year secondary schools, data from the chamber of economy on employers’ needs regarding staff with a university degree, data on the age of school professors, data on non-verified teacher staff and the price of some study programs.