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A Round Table Held on Current Issues in Higher Education

University of Banja LukaGeneral

A round table on current issues in the implementation of the new Law on Higher Education and prospects for further development was held on 9 and 10 October 2021 at the "Kardinal" Hotel in Banja Vrućica near Teslić.

The event, organized by the Rectors' Conference of the Republic of Srpska, was attended by rectors and representatives of higher education institutions from the Republic of Srpska, as well as members of the academic community, the Agency for Higher Education of the Republic of  Srpska and the Ministry of Scientific and Technological Development, Higher Education and Information Society of the Republic of Srpska.

Rector of the University of Banja Luka Prof. Radoslav Gajanin, PhD, says that there are numerous challenges that need to be defined to apply the legislation in an identical way, whether it is about public or private higher education institutions in the Republic of Srpska.

Gajanin, who is also the chairman of the Rectors' Conference of the Republic of Srpska, pointed out the need to determine the manner in which legal provisions will be applied, such as conditions for the selection/application of professors and teaching assistants at higher education institutions, accreditation and accreditation of institutions and study programs within faculties.

,,We also expect that the rulebook will be adopted, primarily the Rulebook on the network of higher education institutions and study programs in the Republic of Srpska, as well as the Rulebook on the framework of qualifications in the Republic of Srpska.’’, Gajanin said.

As he stated, higher education is almost free of charge at public universities in the Republic of Srpska, and that is certainly the most significant advantage of the Law on Higher Education of the Republic of Srpska.

Director of RS Agency for Higher Education Assist. Prof. Biljana Vojvodić estimates that the Law on Higher Education has opened many opportunities in the field of quality improvement, which can also be seen in the adoption of a special Law on Quality Assurance.

,,Preconditions have been created for the adoption of new standards for initial accreditation’’, Vojvodić said, and pointed to the need to speed up some of the processes set out in the Law on Higher Education, on which this conference should provide relevant guidance.

Vice President of the Council for the Development of Higher Education of the Republic of Srpska Prof. Draško Marinković, PhD, says that earlier, the Council defined a proposal of measures and decisions for the improvement of higher education for the period 2021-2023 and a set of regulations and standards.

Assistant Minister in the Department of Higher Education Assist. Prof. Jelena Starčević says that the round table was organized to present an overview of the current status of implementation of the new Law on Higher Education and the Law on Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

She says that the new laws have introduced significant innovations in ensuring the quality of external and internal, changed procedures for accreditation and initial accreditation, which will be the focus of the round table today, along with the setup of a qualification framework in the Republic of Srpska.

On 9 October 2021, a joint session of the Rectors' Conference of the Republic of Srpska and the Council for Higher Education of the Republic of Srpska was held. A day earlier, a session of the Council for Higher Education of the Republic of Srpska was held at the same location.

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