Centre for Civic Education (CCE) believes that it is unacceptable for the management of University of Montenegro (UoM) to shut down three crucial departments on the Faculty of Political Sciences. Precisely those three departments – Journalism, International Affairs and European Studies – represent the core of every faculty of political sciences in region and elsewhere, and their content and essence define the Faculty of Political Sciences of UoM based on which the same was formed.
The CCE will always praise the efforts of UoM’s management on the path of reforms which would improve the quality of higher education, and those processes are particularly important in the context of (re)accreditation of UoM, scheduled for 2017. Nonetheless, reforms require a systematic approach, based on serious analysis and broad consultations with expert and stakeholders. Unfortunately, this was not the case with the announced changes at the Faculty of Political Sciences, which justifies the revolt of both students and part of the teaching staff with enough integrity to publically oppose the arbitrary decision-making of UoM. UoM management failed to explain to academic and broader public the reasons behind the attempt to close down the three courses as well as the planned transformation of Faculty of Political Sciences. In addition, even though it is obliged by law, the Council for Higher Education failed to rank higher education institutions since it was established, or to categorise and rank study departments within the university units compared to the needs of market, hence the study departments cannot be shut down or established without those assessments.
This opens a series of additional questions: has the UoM management analysed the supply and demand ratio with regard to these professions before it decided to shut down all three study departments; who were the political sciences experts, domestic and international, who proposed the closure of the aforementioned courses at the Faculty of Political Sciences; who were the members of working group or the commission who analysed this issue and what were the criteria for their selection; were the students and professors from Faculty of Political Sciences involved in the dialogue on the closure of studying departments and if not, who excluded them; what will be the value of previously obtained diplomas of courses that are about to be shut down?
It is worth of reminding is that Faculty of Political Sciences has been systematically eroded through the negative selection of teaching staff, through the marginalisation of that staff who obtained their educational references in political sciences, especially if they were not suitable for the UoM management, through the abrupt revocation of engagements of guest lecturers and lack of a strategy for the reform of this faculty unit. Nowadays, we witness the final attempts to shut down the Faculty of Political Sciences, particularly bearing in mind that they are closing the courses that other universities in Montenegro do not have, and instead they endorse those that already existing on other universities which still wage an uncertain battle in position on the labour market.
Process of fusion of certain studying departments or opening of new ones on state university, calls for a serious analysis by the providers of knowledge and demand of labour market, strategic approach, long period of time, creation of conditions so that the students can obtain the adequate knowledge and practice, and each impulsive decision leads to further reduction of an already poor level of quality of education in Montenegro, brain drain, production of low-quality, often unnecessary staff, lack of trust in the education system and well cleared path for private competition.
Mira Popović, Programme associate