The project rationale
The main objective of this project concerns the improvement of the governance and management of vocational higher education in Serbia. Actually, higher education in Serbia can be split up in a very limited number of very large, strong, very well structured and very well developed universities on the one hand and a great number of small vocational colleges on the other hand. Existing vocational higher education institutes have no specific job profiles for their graduates, have limited contacts with the workfield and hesitate to join forces in order to further develop the specificities of vocational higher education in Serbia. This is a pity in view of further implementing the requirements of the Bologna declaration and the full integration of Serbia into the EHEA as an essential step to join the European Union. However, examples in EU countries clearly indicate the complementarity between a more “ academic " higher education at the universities on the one hand and a more " professional" higher education at the vocational colleges on the other hand
That's the reason why 8 small vocational colleges in Southern Serbia decided to create a common " Academy of colleges of Applied Sciences" (ACAS) including the development of common general services operating for all 8 members of the Academy. The involved colleges have clearly understood that working together and cooperating on a larger scale is the only way to guarantee a better education and training for all their students. They will commonly develop well structured central services. Quality assurance will be used as the common denominator to start the cooperation process and all members of the ACAS are convinced that the joint development of common services such as central student services, an international relations office, a central ICT service, a common human resources and finances policy are new but necessary to further develop the future of the Academy.
The involvement of all internal and external stakeholders is essential to finalize this process in a successful way. Therefore students, teachers, administrative staff and the workfield will be closely involved in the decision making. The ACAS realizes that a clear professional profile will be profitable on the long term for all curricula in order to attract more students. Very well developed links with the workfield are definitely one of the major challenges and chances of vocational higher education. Practically the Regional Chamber of Economy in Nis and the Health Center in Cuprija are active project partners.
Another aspect of this second objective is linked to the restructuring and reorganizing of the already existing Student
Conference of Academies of Applied Sciences. Their role,mission and election procedures will be reviewed.
In this way this project will contribute to the further integration of Serbian Higher education into the EHEA and will be a new step towards the educational integration of Serbia in the European Union.