In the interview for the Nezavisne Novine, Dane Malesevic, the Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska, announced that the upcoming education reform implies that all employees in this department will have more responsibility and people working in schools and other education institutions will be controlled more strictly. He also announced some activities that will include more children in preschool education.
Interviewer: In what way will the upcoming reform be conducted?
Mr Malesevic: The work group for the education reform is currently making the strategy for the education reform for the time period between 2015 and 2020 which will define the strategic course of the development of the education system. The education reform will improve and upgrade the quality of every segment of education.
Interviewer: What does this reform imply for every segment of education?
Mr Malesevic: In preschool education, our goals are inclusion of more children between the age 3 and 6 in the preschool pedagogy and education, professional training of educators, reviewing of study programs for the training of educators with the intent to upgrade the quality of preschool education and inclusion of children with developmental disabilities in preschool institutions. In primary education, we intend to keep the high rate of inclusion of children in compulsory nine-year education and increase the scoop and quality of service for children with developmental disabilities in cooperation with local communities, health care and social institutions. What is also highly needed is a better support for talented and gifted students.
Interviewer: Will the reform improve the quality of teaching staff?
Mr Malesevic: Surely, what needs to be established is a system which would ensure quality. That means that we need to increase the level of responsibility and mechanisms of work control of employees, expert bodies, and management bodies involved in pedagogical and educational work and overall school functioning. We also need to introduce additional mechanisms for monitoring of lesson quality and getting some feedback from students, parents and teachers. There is no development without development in the general and professional competence of teachers, professional associates and school managements.
Interviewer: What is the reform of secondary education planned to bring?
Mr Malesevic: Here, special attention will be devoted to connecting education with the economy and establishing a partnership between schools and the economy. What we are planning to do is increase quality, create better conditions for the conduction of practical classes, continuously monitor and assess curriculums for all vocations and coordinate with the needs of the job market. Our higher education system needs to become a competent part of the European Higher Education Area and adequate for international cooperation and international service provision in our closer European surroundings.
Interviewer: In what way will the ranking of faculties be done?
Mr Malesevic: Respecting the autonomy of universities, we will ask the Rector’s Conference of the Republic of Srpska as a body in the area of higher education in Srpska which is in charge of identifying and representing mutual interests of universities and academies to include the issue of the international position of our higher education institutions on their list of upcoming activities as one of their priorities. We will also ask the Higher Education Accreditation Agency of the Republic of Srpska to work more on that issue.
Interviewer: What does the certification of professorial titles imply and when should it start being carried out?
Mr Malesevic: I agree that it is necessary to establish a system of continuous professional training of teachers in the Republic of Srpska. In 2014, the Ministry carried out an analysis of cumulative average marks in the previous education for students enrolled in departments of two public universities. The analysis showed that students in departments for the education of teachers and professors enter with mediocre knowledge the world of this profession, which is one of the regulated professions because of its peculiarity and therefore has to be protected.
Interviewer: In what way will be held the synchronization of the job market with vocations that students study for? Have you planned to introduce some new courses in schools?
Mr Malesevic: At the initiative of the School of Food Processing in Prijedor, the Ministry authorized the introduction of a new course starting from next year in the field of agriculture and food processing, and that is the agro-tourism course. The Ministry also received initiatives for the introduction of some new courses, so we asked universities and social partners for their opinion. Also, we have developed an adapted hairdresser course for students with hearing impairment since the 2013/2014 school year, as well as an adapted florist-gardener course for students with mild mental retardation. “Buducnost” Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Derventa launched the initiative for the creating of a physical therapy course for students with visual impairment who have good motor and average or above-average intellectual skills.