Improvement of quality of education must be the state priority

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) welcomed the initiated amendments of General Law on Education and of Law on Primary Education submitted by the group of MPs from Democratic Front (DF). In addition, CCE urges the Government of Montenegro to prioritise the issue of financing the education.

CCE points out for years on some of the poor provisions of General Law on Education, particularly to one which prescribes that the minister appoints and dismisses the directors of educational institutions, schools, kinder gardens and boarding schools. Such provision significantly limited the development of democratic principles in the educational system and resulted with the decrease of level of education. Therefore, CCE believes that the proposal of MPs from DF, based on which directors of institutions should be appointed and dismissed by managing board, and directors of public institutions should be appointed by school board with the consent of the minister, with a change in the existing structure of school board, is reasonable. Namely, in the existing structure of school board, the majority are the representatives of founders – Government, hence the proposed solution, which envisages change in the structure of school board, should it be supported, and will prevent numerous manipulations and illegal actions from taking place, which directors often performed aware of their power under the protection of minister. Such provision would limit the influence of politics in institutions that deal with education, as well as the abuse of official position for party purposes, thus making schools and preschool institutions places where values that contribute to a better quality of education rule.

Additionally, CCE greets the initiated amendment of Law on Primary Education which prescribes the right of all students to free textbooks and school supplies, which CCE requested since 2010, and in 2013 submitted proposals to all MP clubs regarding the amendments of Law on Primary Education which envisaged the obligation of state to secure free textbooks for primary school and thus implement the constitutional provision in practice regarding the free primary education. Previous excuses of Government that there are no resources for that are not true. Namely, the Government reallocated 1.020.022,00 EUR, during the April 2015, from the Ministry of education to Ministry of finances. More precisely, resources of Ministry of Education were reduced for preschool education (64 129,00 EUR), primary education (626 431,00 EUR), secondary education (286 757,00 EUR), education of persons with special needs (32 016,00 EUR) and student standard (10 889,00 EUR). Instead of investing in education, Ministry of finances used those resources for various needs, including the payments to National Security Agency in the amount of 614 000,00 EUR on the behalf of missing funds for severance payments of Agency officials. Only from this part that went to severance payments of NSA officials, the Government could have bought sets of textbooks for 15 350 pupils. Based on this, it is clear that there is money for priorities, but those are not either the students nor the overall educational system.

Mira Popović, programme associate