Conference Report: Innovation in Pre-University Education

Conference Report:

Innovation in Pre-University Education – Education as an Open System

Belgrade, Serbia  29 – 30 November 2010

As the opening of the international conference entitled `Innovation in Pre-University Education`, the Serbian President Boris Tadić stated „education in Serbia is one of the key resources and should be made the measure of the countries` future“. President Tadić also assessed that it was necessary to apply an emergency strategy to respond to needs for the improvement of quality education, and the priority goals were in education field. These are investments in pre-school education, reform of secondary education and continued lifelong learning. Tadić emphasized that the number of pupils and students leaving school prematurely should be reduced significantly and the state should also be working on the prevention of violence in schools, for which purpose it is necessary to take better advantage of and develop sports activities in school institutions. The education in Serbia should be founded on the principle of directing the schools at achievements and tailored to the individual. While pointing out that a lot has been done in the field of education over the past two years, Tadic added that even more should be done.

Education Minister Žarko Obradović stressed that the Ministry aims to enact a long-term educational strategy in Serbia until 2020, which strategy should be adopted by the end of the next year. He underlined the importance of efficiency and equity at the same time. The head of the World Bank Office in Serbia, Mr Loup Brefort, announced that the institution’s support to Serbia in the promotion of the educational system in the following years would be established soon. He emphasized the necessity of adjusting the system to contemporary social needs, which should be the main task of reforms in education.

The Roma Education Fund, as one of the key supporting partners of the MoE’s conference, participated in one of the 17 Working Groups, entitled Roma in Education system.  The importance of country policies and its local implementation was recognized in the key speech of Mrs. Judit Szira (REF), who presented the examples of good practices and measures undertaken in Hungary. The example of good practice in scaling up desegregation project with the support of the government in Bulgaria was presented by REF country facilitator Dimitar Dimitrov. REF has a big scholarship programme in Vojvodina which presented all its convincing outcomes, where all Roma students receive mentorship support besides the scholarships. IPA Education for All project has engaged 128 new Pedagogical Assistants and the “Second Chance” project, based on REF experience aims at meeting the education needs of adults. DILS/REF project, Inclusion of Roma in Education which will be implemented by providing mentorship support to 58 municipalities and grants delivered to 40 municipalities with the best project proposals related to Roma inclusion in education was also presented. The main conclusion of this Working Group is that the situation of Roma, despite the activities for their inclusion in educational system, is still difficult, as some relevant legal acts (Law on the recognition discrimination) are still not realized, as well as there is a need to work on educating and getting the entire society sensitive about the issue. Tünde Kovac Cerovic, State Secretary in the Ministry of Education, emphasizing up to date achievements as well as importance of the conference stressed that if we did not improve pre-school, primary and secondary education, University education would not be improved either. “When just concentrating on university education, then we do consequences “- says Tünde Kovac Cerovic.

The conference aimed at exploring the involvement of experts and the general public in the processes and activities in improving university education and an overview of the results, presentation of best practices and innovations that contribute to the justice system of education, improving teaching quality, raising levels of educational achievement, improving teacher competence, attractiveness of the school and education, and discussion of next steps of reform of the education system.


A two-day conference organized by the Serbian Ministry of Education, under the slogan Education as an Open System, is being attended by Serbian experts and those from Slovenia, Switzerland, Finland, The Netherlands, Hungary and Spain, and lecturers from Cambridge University and Harvard University have been announced as well.

The conference brought together over six hundred professionals from the country and abroad.

[1] The conference was organized by the Ministry of Education and its partners (EU office in Belgrade, World Bank, DILS project, Kingdom of the Netherlands, REF, UNICEF, Fund for an Open Society -Serbia, Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation, SDC, Adult Education Association, Bundesministerium fur wirschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung and GTZ.





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