The Centre for Civic Education (CCE) assessed that the issue of recognition of foreign diplomas must be adequately and institutionally resolved, taking into account both the respect of international standards and the national interests of the state of Montenegro. This is especially important concerning the enormous and growing number of foreign educational documents coming from educational institutions in the region and broadly, whose reputation is highly questionable, as we have been warning the Ministry of Education for years.
For these reasons, the CCE also had a representative in the Working Group for drafting amendments to the Law on recognition of foreign educational certificates and qualifications equalization.
A significant number of the proposals that we have submitted have been adopted and these are predominantly related to the evaluation of learning outcomes in order to fully respect Lisbon Convention, but also to protect Montenegro from the flood of diplomas that are based on knowledge. Thus, the Draft Law on amendments to the Law on recognition of foreign educational certificates and qualifications equalization defines improvements in terms of the more strict criteria for recognition. However, the CCE also insisted on stronger institutional cohesion in Montenegro in order to address this issue in systematic and sustainable manner. Specifically, this means that the Ministry of Education, in case of doubt, seeks an opinion on the validity of the educational document from the Agency for Control and Quality Assurance of Higher Education (ACQAHE). The Agency also conducts this type of control in Montenegro; hence it is logical to use these capacities to create an institutional mechanism for checking the quality of questionable diplomas that come to Montenegro. The CCE opposes the engagement of individual experts, as it is now envisaged in the Draft, because it creates space for discretionary decision-making and possible corrupt and can additionally lead to lengthy procedures.
The object of this legal text is to contribute more effectively to suppressing the recognition of dubious diplomas, but also to act preventively by motivating students to think carefully about what they enrol. Those faculties that offer admission and obtaining of diploma without attendance of lectures (theoretical and practical part), or who offer multiple examinations in the appointed day, cannot provide the required quality of knowledge, and thus that diploma is deficient in competence. In this context, we believe that this legal text has the potential to differentiate the so-called white and black faculty lists through its proper application.
Snezana Kaludjerovic, Senior Legal Advisor