By Adnan Prekic – Podgorica
After more than 20 years of educational reforms in Montenegro, a serious debate has open as to whether all these changes have yielded any results. According to statistics it would seem so. The number of those who have a higher education has increased, with most high school students continuing their education, but the quality of the acquired knowledge has become worse.
Official statistics on the quality of education provided by the school in Montenegro do not exist. Civil Service claim that the situation is much better but it is not consistent with the independent research. The results of the Programme for International Student Assessment, the so-called PISA test, showed that the Montenegrin students possess knowledge that is below average. They showed a slight improvement in mathematical, reading and scientific literacy, but all this is still below average.
Based on the results of this test, the average knowledge of Montenegrin students in mathematics was 410 points, the OECD average is 494 points. Of the 65 countries, by knowledge of mathematics Montenegro students are at the 54th place. According to the results of reading literacy, Montenegro is placed 53th, while at the scientific literacy they are ranked at 56th place.
Experts say that the problem is in the poor performance of the education reforms. The quality of the teaching staff on the matter is crucial, because for years they nurtured a tradition of negative selection of teachers. In practice the traditional forms of teaching have survived, which mainly develop memory, but not all the other skills and aspects of intelligence.
The poor performance in education is affected by the low pay of the teachers. With an average salary of 450 to 55o Euros, workers in education cannot be properly motivated for such a responsible job. What’s more, very little is invested in their further education, which leads to generally poor results.
Not that better results are achieved in higher education. In Montenegro, apart from the state, there are two private universities which are, considered by many, too many for a country of 600,000 inhabitants. Critics of higher education often report that private universities are often the places where money can buy a diploma. Insufficient investment in the state university has resulted in the institution of higher education not having better teaching conditions.
On the most recent rankings of the Cybermetrics Lab research group from Spain, State University took 3858th place. The results of private universities are even worse. The University of the Mediterranean in the overall standing was at the 6484th place, while the second private University of Donja Gorica on the 15619th place. From universities in the region the best ranking was received by Zagreb- on the 564th place, Belgrade on the 633th, and Sarajevo in the 1739th place.