Directors to be elected by school and managing board, not by a Minister

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) calls on the Committee on Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Parliament of Montenegro, but also on all members of the Parliament of Montenegro, to urgently include provision into the Draft amendments to the General Law on Education by which the competence of the school or managing board of educational institutions to elect and dismiss directors of those institutions will be added.

CCE has been pointing out for years that the current legal solution according to which the minister discretionary elects and dismisses directors of educational institutions is bad and that it causes huge damage to the educational system. Time has proven that it has not contributed to improving the quality of education, but it only strengthened the system of party employment and corruption and the protection of controversial directors. Namely, the process of appointing directors has never been less based on merits and more on party affiliation. The same refers to dismissal processes where numerous examples of disrespect of findings of Educational inspection by ministers were noted in the cases of party-eligible personnel.

We recall that representatives of the current parliamentary majority emphasized this frequently while they were opposition MPs. Therefore, it is to be expected that now, when this legal text is on the agenda, they will change the manner of election and dismissal of the director, i.e. to exclude it from the Minister’s competencies.

School or managing board is composed of representatives of the competent Ministry, municipality, educational institutions staff and parents. Such a composition ensures a much more objective approach in assessing the performance of directors, but also their competencies and dedication to school and teaching through managing that institution, than what may be the Minister’s assessment after the formal filter of the Ministry’s commission. In that regard, it is necessary to give competence to these boards so that they can elect the ones they consider most professional, but also to dismiss them when they are not working following the law and best practices. Additionally, this motivates these boards to be constantly cautious and monitor the work of directors, but also to support directors when they work in the public interest.

The most effective manner of shaping democratic and civic spirit is through the education system. One of the mechanisms of critical opinion development is that the local community and teachers participate in the election of heads of educational institutions and that those heads are more receptive to pupils’ needs and community instead of listening only to the voice of the minister.

CCE expresses hope that the new parliamentary majority will solve this long-lasting problem and thus contribute to the liberation of educational institutions from parties and other inappropriate influences. Therefore, the CCE will submit to parliamentary clubs specific proposals that can be included in the planned amendments to facilitate and speed up this process.

Snežana Kaluđerović, Senior legal advisor