On the occasion of Day of Students, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) indicates that nearly 26,000 Montenegrin students even though large social groups remains insufficiently influential within intensified ongoing processes of reforms of the society on the path to European Union.
Montenegrin system of higher education is permeated with endemic corruption, plagiarism for which university managements show no effort to prevent, suppress or sanction in line with the law and code of ethics, long-time announced reforms which mostly come down to experiments without the initial analysis and clear strategy, along with clientelistic ties that threaten to destroy the academic and its immanent critical spirit. In that respect, the voice of students, especially if it is progressive, is not heard or it is systematically diminished.
In spite of the fact that students have their representatives in every body of University of Montenegro, which makes the final decisions, there is no organised student action in the protection of students’ rights when it involves confronting the decisions of management. Students’ parliament and their representatives are ought to express the will of the students more decisively and invest more efforts to improve the conditions of studying.
Student activism strives to social changes. These changes need not necessarily be turbulent and revolutionary, but evolutionary, with a specific objective, altogether changes for the better. Hence, student activism in Montenegro, like in any other democratic society, should insist on constant social dialogue, demonstrate against the dysfunctional system of education, oppose the social lethargy and social mantra “we’ll arrange that for you” which may result with title, but not with knowledge, only for a short period of time.
Professors are also an important aspect of this action. They have to cooperate with students, work together on the development of critical thought, improvement of the quality of education, and decrease of the level of corruption, as well as of other harmful occurrences in education. This is where essential changes need to take place, because universities are the starting points of decisive, critically founded attitudes, not of blindness to countless social deviations.
CCE hopes that Montenegro will soon make a breakthrough in this area and that students will use the power of activism to improve their status as well as the odds for their employment, and in doing so, improve the odds for their future.
Within the project Only knowledge should bring you the title, the CCE produced short documentary “Vice versa” in cooperation with ELIAMEP, which focuses on issue of student activism and role of student population in Montenegrin society, which trailer is available on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uDDLCGczxw.
Day of Students – 4 April, is marked in memory of law student Žarko Marinović, born in Očinići, near Cetinje, who was killed in 1936 in Belgrade during a student strike against the fascist-transformation of country.
Mira Popović, Programme associate