Why is Government’s Agency being strengthened while Council for Higher Education is being weakened?

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) reminds that last amendments to the Law on Higher Education, adopted in June 2017 have significantly and inappropriately reduced authority of Council for Higher Education. It is therefore concerning a fact that MPs of Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS), Marta Scepanovic and Branka Tanasijevic, are by proposed amendments additionally seeking to reduce the already limited jurisdiction of this body, due to which it is being completely impeded.

MPs Scepanovic and Tanasijevic submitted to the Parliament of Montenegro amendments to the Law on Higher Education on 19 October 2017. Except for the part of amendment that is of nomotehnical character and proper, some of the amendments seriously jeopardize position of Council for Higher Education.

Namely, proposal of MPs Scepanovic and Tanasijevic deprives the Council of one of the few remaining key competences – determining methodology for ranking of institutions, which is being transferred to the Government’s Agency for Control and Assuring Quality of Higher Education. Determining methodology for ranking higher education institutions must remain within jurisdiction of the Council for Higher Education, otherwise it would exclude expert and academic level of decision making and create a space for manipulation in the conduct of ranking. »

111 NGO are seeking consistent application of the law

111 non-governmental organizations from Montenegro have submitted a letter to the President of Administrative Committee of Parliament of Montenegro asking of this Committee to consistently apply law since in the case of colleague Goran Djurovic there is no legal basis for his dismissal

Parliament of Montenegro
Administrative Committee
Luidj Skrelja, President

Podgorica, 25 October 2017

Dear Mr Skrelja,

We, undersigned representatives of non-governmental organizations, are hereby inviting you, in regards to undertaking further steps in relation to Decision of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption of alleged conflict of interest of the member of RTCG Council Goran Djurovic, to comply with this Decision in which it is clearly and indisputably  stated:

By conducting examination of the Excerpt from Central Register of Economic Entities, as well as by declaration of the named, it was established that activity of the company “Nature” doo Podgorica is mixed agricultural production, indicating that Goran Djurovic is not the person for whom prohibition in Article 26 paragraph 1 item 5 of the Law on National Public Broadcaster Radio and Television of Montenegro is prescribed, since the named is a business owner of a company which conduct of operation is not incompatible with the function that he performs.
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Will Berlin Plus change enlargement policy of the European Union?

Centre for Civic Education (CCE), has yesterday, in cooperation with regional office of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), organized a roundtable Will Berlin Plus change enlargement policy of the European Union?.

Daliborka Uljarević, CCE Executive Director, assessed that „Berlin process is a live instrument that aids regional cooperation and consequently also the European perspective of the Western Balkans, and its importance is more profound in regards to efforts of the EU itself to support Europeanization of the region in addition to their internal turmoils“. She pointed out that „reforms have lost on their lightly promised speed since there was no internal political will, which in addition to challenges within the Union itself, had led to apparent slowdown of enlargement“. Uljarević reminded that there is „large number of preconditions that must be met in order to strengthen dynamics and enthusiasm in the accession process. The greatest challenge is to ensure undisputable political will that would be followed by consistent application of adopted laws and other documents. It must be followed by strenghtening of administrative capacities liberated of party influences, and there is also an additional issue of whether and how can Montenegro financialy adhere to requirements of negotiation in the existent economical situation and manner of managing state resources“.

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Cooperation of all sectors of society necessary in order to resolve youth un-employment

According to data of Monstat, 28.9% of young people in the second quarter of this year were unemployed in Montenegro, which represents a decrease compared to the same period last year, when 35.5% of young people were waiting for employment. Youth unemployment is a systemic and complex problem, which can be resolved only by joint action of state, non-governmental and private sector. One of solutions is introduction of practice in the education system and acquisition of knowledge and skills that can better prepare young people for the labour market. Precisely such solutions were offered by project Knowledge and skills for job, which was implemented by Centre for Civic Education (CCE) in the previous period. Within the framework of this project, new skills and knowledge were acquired by 61 candidates from entire Montenegro, and ten of them got the job, although this was not mandatory component of the project.

“Through this project we have offered an approach that can help resolve the unemployment problem. We believe that success of the project is 61 unemployed young persons who have acquired new knowledge and skills, ten of them who after practice got a job, but also that more than 90% of the project participants have suggested that they would recommend programme to their friends. However, youth unemployment is a demanding process that the state must devote itself much more and more creatively to, but also a process in which we all can and must do more”, said Petar Djukanovic, programme coordinator in the CCE.

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Local self-goverments should be more proactive in the provision of information

Only direct and open discussions about difficulties that citizens of Montenegrin municipalities are facing when asking for certain information about work of the same, but also by having insight into how local administration is working and what are its limitations when it comes to improving transparency of work of municipality itself, can altogether help in understanding but also strengthen consistent application of the Law on Free Access to Information, as it was concluded today at the roundtable I have the right to know, organized by the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) in Podgorica.

During the opening session, Mira Popović, CCE programme associate, pointed out that „local self-governments record modest performance in the area of openess and transparency, and there is no tenable justification for such conditions“. Furthermore, she pointed out the efforts of civil society to be critical and a constructive correctiv, identifying, reacting and indicating insufficiencies of system but also offering recommendations for transformation into a true and open society. „However, if our efforts are not recognized by public sector organs, in this case municipalities that can undertake necessary steps in resolving identified problems, we will continue to spin around in a vicious circle of non-transparency“, she concluded.

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