Amendments to Law on education urgently needed

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) estimates that the case regarding the conflict between principal of Electro-technical school Pićurić and professor Klikovac is not isolated and it indicates the flaws of General Law on Education, which provides unlimited power to minister when appointing and dismissing school principals. In doing so, the democracy in schools is collapsing, and the principle of party advancement is being introduced, instead of the merit-based advancement.

In addition, this creates the issue of putting pressure on teaching staff who do not share same political views as the principal, based on which they frequently become victims of mobbing. In that kind of situation, the students suffer, who also experience various forms of pressure and conditionality. Such form of psychic pressure on students and teaching staff does not contribute to promotion of educational process in schools.

Schools should be focused on fulfilling the curriculum, encouraging students to further develop themselves in specific areas in which they are talented, have affinities or interests, while principal, as a good manager, should manage that system, thereby facilitating the work of teaching staff and studying process of students. That implies that principal himself should provide resources for young talents and their teachers in order for them to progress in science through training and competitions at home and abroad, without selective approach in the election of those teachers and students. Principals are obliged to secure the attendance to trainings to all employed teachers, due to mandatory licensing of teachers, in an equal manner, based on clearly determined criteria, so that they could obtain teaching licences. Unfortunately, Montenegrin practice shows that principals in numerous schools do not treat equally everyone and that every teacher does not have equal opportunities for perfecting him/herself. Such lack of responsibility towards education as a profession, is a direct result of party appointment for majority of principals, which is why CCE appeals MPs, in light of announced amendments on General law on education, to change the provision on the election of school principals.

Prior to this, CCE several times emphasised what damage the existing system of school principal election could cause, but no MP was there to listen and to resolve this issue, and the consequence expected are scandals such as the recent one that took place in Electro-technical school in Podgorica.

CCE believes that principals who have quality pedagogical, teaching and managerial abilities, and who deserve the position of principal according to majority of professors, should be valued, rather than principals who promote solely and exclusively some other type of ability, who is recognised and supported only by the minister.

Mira Popović, Programme Associate