In early June 2017, at the Faculty of Political Sciences, the ‘University of Banja Luka in 2025 – experiences and recommendations of the neighbouring countries’ conference was held, at which experiences within the domains of scientific research, higher education, legislation, and other relevant fields were exchanged, in order for optimal solutions from the neighbouring countries, useful for projections of the development of the University, to be identified.
The conference gathered representatives of the leading scholarly and educational institutions in the former Yugoslavia, with the Ministers of Education and Culture and Science and Technology of the Government of the Republic of Srpska respectively participating as well.
On behalf of the host institution, the guests were welcomed by Rector Milan Mataruga, who pointed out how important a topic higher education was for any country, rendering the necessity of discussions at the highest possible academic level. ‘We would like our guests to share their experiences with us so we could define our own position at the present, determine our direction and envision us in ten years’ time’, said Rector Mataruga, emphasizing the importance of the event by adding that there was the adoption of development strategy of the University in progress.
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Srpska, Prof. Jasmin Komic, Minister of Science and Technology, addressed the present, saying that establishing knowledge-based economy presented a challenge for any community and an imperative in terms of progress of the Republic of Srpska, maintaining that funds spent on scientific research should not be viewed as expenditure but investment.
In addition, Dr Dane Malesevic, Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska, expressed his belief that the exchange of experiences of the University of Banja Luka with its counterparts in the region would contribute to improvements in scholarly work and teaching processes.
After these opening addresses, Prof. Mataruga gave a plenary speech titled ‘University of Banja Luka – present and future’, in which he provided an overview of the higher education in the Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole, highlighting research activities, involvement in projects, publishing in international journals etc.
As for the future of the University, Prof. Mataruga talked about the plans defined by the 2017-2025 Development Strategy, expressing his wishes for an institution recognizable for its scholarly excellence, for its teaching methods, establishing dynamic international cooperation, developing entrepreneurship culture, offering partnership to the economy and tending towards self-viable financing.
The Rectors address was complemented by the addresses of his counterparts from the universities in the region of former Yugoslavia, who emphasized the necessity of opening spin-off businesses at departments, of involvement in research projects in terms of financial stability and further investments in research activities, of harmonizing legislation in the field of higher education with that of the European Union