THE PROJECT - DESCRIPTION
On the grounds of problems existing at present postgraduate studies of Economics in Serbia, stakeholders needs and methodology of project management, wider objectives of the project have been defined, as well as outcomes and activities required for those outcomes. Wider objectives have been derived from mission and vision of the Faculties of Economics of the Universities in Serbia.
Problems depicted in section III.1.a according to priority level could be separated in the following groups:
• Dominantly out of date curricula with small number of elective subjects,
• Insufficient implementation of modern methods and equipment in teaching process,
• Dominantly low level of foreign language knowledge (EU languages),
• Long duration of studies as result of above mentioned reasons and low quality of educational processes,
• Low modularization of courses and low mobility of students,
• Unsatisfactory economic situation and low level of salaries.
On the other hand, needs of all stakeholders (students, teaching staff, management, business, local and regional community, and state) continually grow and request increased transformation of master studies in Serbia. Importance of these needs is depicted in new Higher Education Law, which was adopted in the Serbian Parliament in August, 2005. In this law, many directives of Bologna declaration are included, including: self evaluation, quality assessment of education institutions, curriculum evaluation, accreditation procedure, types and levels of study, study scope, credits, student parliament.
Major challenges to Higher Education in European Union are:
• The growth and diversification of higher education,
• Demographic trends,
• Increasingly competitive environment,
• Substantial diversity in educational systems, but the trend is towards convergence (harmonization),
• Accreditation and Quality Assurance as global concepts,
• New educational paradigm for successful transition to a knowledge-based economy and society.
Change challenges in Higher Education are:
• At the university we have a self-reinforcing system that is very difficult to change.
• It takes courage to be innovative and to introduce change. In the field of education and science a lot has to be done. That will as well take courage.
• This mean doing things differently, letting go of some past practices, opening our minds and classroom doors to collaboration, considering new ideas and refining our repertoire of solutions that work.
Beginning with wider objectives and specific objectives of the project, needs identified for the parties interested (discussed in III.1) and in accordance with requirements and policy of Higher Education in Serbia, the proposed project “Rationalization of the postgraduate studies in Business Management and Economics in Serbia” is expected to attain the following outcomes:
1. Created New model of Master study programs,
2. Development and introduction of new Master study programs,
3. Establishment of supportive teaching environment,
4. Realization of ECTS model,
5. Accreditation of Master study program,
8. Quality control and monitoring,
9. Management of the project.
First, we will start with recognized needs of the Serbian Parliament, European Commission and stakeholders (students, teachers, business, Government and other stakeholders). Consortium of 3 Faculties of Economics in Kragujevac, Beograd and Nis is established on the basis of wider objectives and specific project objectives of Universities in Serbia. All results and experiences from realization of this project will be harmonized with applied project “Rationalization of the postgraduate studies in Business Management and Economics in Serbia”.
To attain those highly specific objectives and outcomes of the project it is necessary to apply project management principles and therefore, since resources are limited, to test and introduce project solutions into a pilot organization, Faculties of Economics in Belgrade, Kragujevac and Nis. The Faculty of Economics of the University of Kragujevac will be the coordinator of these activities. Consortium members should take part in implementation of all outcomes through the activities listed in section III.5 of this project.
First phase of project implementation consists of two groups of activities: (1) benchmarking and gap analysis of Curricula for master study in Business Management and Economics in Serbia and EU countries and (2) developing and adoption of common model and policy for rationalization of the postgraduate studies in Business Management and Economics in Serbia.
Each group will be realized with intensive mobility of Consortium Members. The results that should be achieved after 9 months are adopted basic principles and models in Business Management and Economics studies accompanied with employment of Commission for master study, Central team of the project and Senate on each University.
Basic idea of the proposed project is to establish good foundation for all the processes at the University and particularly for teaching process, by redesigning the existing Curricula for master studies and designing new Curricula (outcome 2). Redesigning scope will depend on stakeholders’ needs and limits existing. Restructuring Curricula will begin with involvement of stakeholders in creation of a new study programs through intensive communication between all stakeholders. Output is recognized needs of stakeholders which is reason for development of a new study programs for master studies. This phase is to be implemented by academic representatives from each Serbian University/Faculty, Commission for master studies, Central team and Senate. The needs of PhD studies must be taken into account for development of master studies. It will additionally demand development of basis for continuing postgraduate studies to PhD level. The key sub processing achievement of outcome 2 is introduction of different selected courses on each Serbian University/Faculty, which is planned for the second year of the project.
For successful implementation of Master studies, it is necessary to establish supportive teaching environment (outcome 3) and to realize credit transfer system based on ECTS (outcome 4).
In order to achieve this, it is necessary to develop and implement adequate organizational infrastructure, as well as to develop and implement new teaching methods, develop and publish new teaching materials, design and development of web portals for e-based communication between students and professors, purchase and install of adequate teaching equipment.
Starting from results of previous activities, it is necessary to develop appropriate courses and credit transfer system among Universities/Faculties and create ECTS Information packages for master studies. For realization of outcomes 3 and 4, it is necessary to establish intensive communication among professors, Commission for master studies, Central team, Senate and management of University/Faculty.
In order to recognize Master studies in Serbia, and later in European Higher Education Area (EHEA), it is necessary to provide their accreditation. In the first place it is necessary to develop and implement self assessment procedure and to meet demands of standard for accreditation of study programs. As the final point of this group of activities, it is necessary to have accreditation of selected master studies and programs on each University/Faculty.
Dissemination of this project (outcome 7) will be realized through:
(1) Designing and maintaining of project web site,
(2) Implementation of workshop and media promotion and
(3) Development and publication of one monograph about project results.
Considering previous reputation of Economic faculties in Kragujevac, Belgrade and Nis, existing media channels and campaigns, it can be predicted that dissemination of project results (outcome 6) will be successful and effective.
Sustainability of the project (outcome 7) is based on establishment of financial system for support of master studies, based on principle of self sustainability through financial contribution of students and contributions from Ministry for education and sport. In the next period, new demands and needs could be expected from stakeholders which will force modification of study programs according to new needs and requests.
Expected success of project implementation will attract attention of new, potential students which will provide financial sustainability of project results through scholarships.
The Consortium members from Serbia will actively participate in all the aforementioned project activities exchanging information during short visits, study stay, etc. The Consortium members from EU will enable direct knowledge transfer through their short visits and lectures given in this field in Serbia. That will enable greater mobility of teaching staff. Finally, this project must provide effective Quality Control and Monitoring (outcome 8) and Management of the Project (outcome 9).
Quality Control and Monitoring will be implemented through:
(1) establishing of effective system for internal Quality Control of the Project with working teams and (2) setting up external control mechanisms for monitoring and assessment of the Project using external independent team of experts.
Successful implementation of this project will be obtained through work of two teams:
(1) Central team on inter-university level and
(2) Working teams - Commissions for master studies on each Faculty in Serbia.
Management of the Project (outcome 9) covers:
(1) setting up management infrastructure and responsibilities of each Consortium Member and
(2) Planning and organization of Steering Committee meetings for management,
(3) Preparation and writing official reports, decisions and records.
The Consortium members from Serbia are partially participants of the following complement Tempus projects: (1) JEP CD 41146 – 2006 (Rationalization of the postgraduate studies in Business Management and Economics in Serbia) related to redesign of undergraduate studies in Economics and Management,(2) JEP 16156-01 (Computer Science Curricula Founding and Upgrading) and JEP 17119-02 (Education Network Based on Information Technology) in the field of information and communication support and appropriate Curricula in Informatics, (3) JEP 16098-01 (Building of the Network for Further Development of the Small and Medium Enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina) with development of appropriate Curricula in Statistics and Business, (4) JEP 17040-02 (Implementing Quality Assurance in Serbian Universities) in the field of improvement of teaching processes quality in Higher Education and Faculty accreditation and (5) JEP 17027-02 (Updating Undergraduate studies in FRY) at the Faculty of Economics in Podgorica and Novi Sad where we have agreed about mutual dissemination of the project results. Responsibility and work organization on this project have been divided in two levels.
Grant Applicant bears the first level responsibility; besides contractor’s duties his roles in this project are as follows:
(1) first meeting organization in order to coordinate the Consortium members’ work,
(2) correspondence with European Training Foundation- Tempus Department and
(3) active participation in realization of the outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.
Coordinator’s (Partner Country's) responsibilities are the following:
(1) to plan all the project activities in detail and inform the Consortium members about it in opportune time,
(2) to define tasks for the Consortium members in detail as well as the methodology of project work,
(3) to forward the requirements for resource supply (equipment, money funds etc.) to the Grant Applicant,
(4) to implement project activities in accordance to the Work Plan and Action plan which are adopted in Steering Committee meetings. (Section III.4),
(5) to perform monitoring of project activities together with the Grant Applicant,
(6) to prepare reports and send them to Tempus Department together with the Grant Applicant.
Other Consortium members and their activities are on the second level of responsibilities for project realization and are specified in III.5 (Outcomes and activities tables).
Concept of this project is deep involvement and mobility of all Consortium Members in project activities, great transparency, openness for further improvement and reachable objectives. Using great motivation, mutual familiarity, knowledge and respect of all Consortium Members applied project will avoid all weaknesses of team work because Consortium Members are ready to give full contribution in project implementation with all theirs expert knowledge and skills.
Faculty of Economics, Djure Pucara Starog 3, 34000 Kragujevac, Serbia
tel. +38134303502, fax. +38134303516
TEMPUS JEP CD 41146